Trees are such a familiar part of our countryside that I think we often take them for granted. Not only are trees ‘the lungs’ of our world they are also incredibly beautiful, varied and inspiring. People write poetry about them, paint them and hug them.
I am lucky in that I live quite a rural life and Devon has a reasonable amount of woodland. However, I was somewhat surprised to read that the UK has one of the lowest tree cover rates in Europe, just 13% compared to a European average of 37%.
The Woodland Trust has launched an ambitious plan to plant 64 million trees by 2025 and they want us all to help. They are offering a free pack of seeds containing rowan, dog rose, alder, buckthorn and holly, and it comes with full planting instructions and care advice. What a great idea! They will also offer help and advice as your seedlings germinate and grow.
The seeds they send you will be kept moist with compost to help them germinate. This means it will be harder to tell the different seeds apart when they arrive. If you would like to try and identify the seeds you’re planting you can wash the compost off but then the seeds must be sown immediately. It will be much easier to identify your seedling once it has germinated. To claim your free seed pack click on the link here.
I think this is an absolutely brilliant scheme and the more of us that get involved the better. I will be claiming my pack today.
If you are lucky enough to already have trees in your garden, have you ever considered collecting seeds from them, propagating the seedlings and then either planting more yourself or perhaps giving them away as gifts?
The top four methods for seed collection used on the UK National Tree Seed Project (UKNTSP) are easily remembered through the handy acronym SEED:
Shake tree over a large laid out tarpaulin
Extra-long pole to prune off seeds clusters
Encase branch ends in a cotton fine-meshed bag to collect small wind-dispersed seed
Delicately hand-pick fleshy berries
When collecting seeds it’s best not to collect from the ground, to avoid collecting old seeds from previous years. Never take more than 20% of the seed crop, remember seeds create the next generation of plants and sustain wildlife. There are lots of good reasons to collect seeds and you can read all about it here.
So, the next time you’re out collecting seeds or growing them in your garden, just think of the extraordinary journey their counterparts are on. Heading towards the ultimate goal of ensuring your great-great grandchildren can have the same experience you’re having. The simple yet irreplaceable delights of planting and watching your own seed grow from a tiny speck into a monumental tree.
The Woodland Trust is well worth supporting, and its website is full of interesting facts. Do have a look if you have a moment…