Tree Hay

“It’s the forgotten food – it was a major source of fodder for domestic animals in both summer and winter in the past”

Ted Green

Ted shows us how traditional breeds of cattle and rare breed, Exmoor ponies love his tree fodder, especially in winter when other sources of food more scarce. The tree hay in this case was cut in summer from young trees to create new pollards of ash, cherry, elm, wild service and hazel – in fact any deciduous tree will do. It was stored in tightly tied bundles which helped to keep the leaves green.

The practice of creating tree hay from trees is very ancient. In Ethiopia it is believed to date back 12-14,000 years. In England there is evidence of this practice from sub fossilised pollards from the Trent during gravel extraction – which were carbon dated at 4,400 years old.