More rough and extensive

Woodland plantings with a rougher character and more extensive maintenance require a completely different management approach. How does one achieve an undergrowth that is rich in herbs in such plantings? The answer to this question is threefold: through spontaneous development, by deliberately inserting plants, or by using a combination of the two. When one lets nature run its course, the species appearing spontaneously will mainly be those that are characteristic for eutrophic habitats, strongly influenced by human activity and therefore common these days. Examples of this group of plants are lesser celandine, ground ivy, ground elder, cow parsley, several willowherb species and common nettle. Generally speaking, these are not the most spectacular plants. It may take a long time, if it happens at all, for species with more attractive flowers or fruits to find their way into these places spontaneously. If one wishes to achieve a more interesting vegetation rather more quickly, with high-impact naturalistic, differentiated woodland vegetations, one should resort to the insertion of the desired herbaceous species. In doing so, one can encourage natural developments, and with the right maintenance and management, many species will be able not only to assert themselves but even to proliferate. It goes without saying that the insertion of desired species should only be attempted when the habitats they require are available. In new plantings the time to start inserting plants will be ripe when, providing the woody plants have evolved favourably when the methods described above have been used, the vegetation is about eight years old. In other cases it may take longer. On the other hand, many existing and older parks are suitable for the application of herbaceous plant insertion right away.