|Tyler working solo|
|Billy, Tyler and a very happy warden|
This week we spent a day preparing a hedge at Duncote Farm for laying, cutting out the side branches and any dead elder and looking at which way to lay the pleachers. There are several young oaks in this hedge that we will leave to grow into standard trees, and I noticed a few of the leaves were covered in spangle galls. Each of these tiny discs contains a single gall wasp, Neuroterus quercusbaccarum, which fall to the ground over autumn and winter and emerge as adults in April. These spring emergers are all female and are 'agamic' or able to reproduce without mating. They lay their eggs in the buds of oak trees, forming currant galls on the catkins and leaves, which emerge in June as males and females. They then mate and lay their eggs on the underside of the oak leaves again and form the spangle galls.