Thursday 30 November 2006
Autumn, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, is also the time of year for gardeners and growers, young and old, to go out collecting tree seeds.
“Growing a native tree from a seed you have collected yourself is much cheaper than buying a big tree in a pot, and more fun,” said Cliff Webb…“It’s also easy to do, and, if you use seeds you have collected locally, it’s better for the environment, and the tree is more likely to thrive.”
Working for Glasu, the Powys LEADER+ rural development programme, Cliff co-ordinates a project to promote the benefits of growing saplings from seed collected from native trees within the county – resulting in local provenance trees.
The rationale behind the project is simple – local provenance trees are more suited to their environment, more likely to survive, provide a more reliable wildlife habitat and are more beneficial to the local economy. Sourcing the trees locally is also more eco-friendly. For all these reasons, most agencies involved in tree planting, including Coed Cymru, Forestry Commission, Countryside Council for Wales, Woodland Trust, and the Highways Directorate of the Welsh Assembly Government now recommend using local provenance trees.
Cliff explains: “You will generally get much better results by growing local provenance trees, rather than buying native tree species which have been grown from imported seed. Local provenance trees are from genetic stock that’s adapted to the conditions found in Wales, so they are more likely to survive and this avoids the costs of replanting. Whilst many native trees planted in Wales are still grown from imported seed, these may differ significantly in important genetic characteristics, such as the time they come into leaf, flower and fruit. This upsets the fine balance between native trees and the wildlife they support. Sourcing trees and seeds locally also reduces transport costs, reduces pollution and helps to safeguard local employment.”
As part of the Tree Nurseries of Powys project, Cliff organises training and advice for anyone interested in growing native trees. Recent workshops, “Tree Seed Collection”, on 15th September at Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s reserve at Gilfach, near Rhayader and on 11th October at PenPont Organic Estate, near Sennybridge were well-attended. Although such events are aimed at people interested in starting a business growing local provenance trees, they are generally open to all.
Also, as part of a celebration of the Tree Council’s Seed Gathering Season, which runs until 23rd October, Cliff Webb, along with other project partners, will be accompanying children from four Powys schools (Castle Caereinion, Guilsfield, Leighton and Forden) on seed collection sorties in local native woodlands. The trips are planned for 16th and 20th October. Cliff will help pupils collect tree seed and show them the best ways to clean, treat and store the seeds to ensure they germinate next spring and grow into saplings. These and other seed collecting visits to local woods in the Welshpool area are being organised by the “From Seed to Saw” a project supported by Forestry Commission’s Forest Education Initiative.
There’s more information about growing native trees from seed on the project’s website, www.nativetrees.org.uk or contact Cliff Webb, Project coordinator, Glasu on 01982 552224 or at email@example.com.
Tree Nurseries of Powys is part of Glasu, which is the LEADER+ Programme in Powys. It has a theme of adding value to local natural products and works with people who have project ideas at grassroots level.
LEADER+ is a European Union funded programme to promote the development of rural areas. Its aim is to encourage and help rural areas to think about the longer-term potential of their area. It seeks to encourage the implementation of integrated, high-quality, original strategies for sustainable development based upon innovative approaches towards rural development.
Managed by the Welsh Assembly Government, the LEADER+ programme receives European funding via the Welsh European Funding Office, part of the Welsh Assembly Government.
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|Native Tree Seed Collection Workshops in Autumn 2006.|
(Thursday 30 November 2006)
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