Q; What kind of trees do you plant
What kind of trees do you plant?
Good trees or bad trees?
A; Hah! We say “Right tree in the right place”. No such thing as a bad tree folks, is what we say. Oak, silver birch, downy birch, alder, holly, Scots pine, hawthorn, rowan… Native species trees are about 90 per cent or more of what we have planted so far usually grown in Irish nurseries. All our saplings distributed an planted in the 2020-2021 season were Irish-grown natives with the exception of one batch of Hawthorn which originated in the UK as we were not able to source enough on the island of Ireland for demand last year of this (native) species. We have planted some half-standard and standard trees not on the natives list; apple, damson, pear (Marian Hostel and Scoil Mhuire sites, Tullamore) and some Corsican Pine (in consultation with local tree expert Don Brasil, chosen for the history of this species going back over 100 years at the site on Carlingford Lough and for its suitability to the climactic conditions featuring harsh, salty sea breezes.) In previous years we have planted an avenue of trees lime (Fermoy, an avenue in collaboration with local schools, beekeepers and Tidy Towns), horse chestnut, beech (Malahide Castle demesne, renewing the canopy now losing many of these old species to storms), sycamore (Baldoyle St. Nessan’s School) and maple and red oak during our Science Week 2019 initiative countrywide for colour and fun. Children love to plant the maple-syrup tree!
We’ve planted these other common “naturalised” Irish trees such as beech, horse chestnut, maple, sycamore as they add to the climate resilience of our woodlands and hedgerows. Sycamore for example is much loved by bees even though it is not on our natives list. (My husband really dislikes sycamore, the leaves that fall into our pond are a problem to fish out; we’ve been making violins for a long time out of sycamore in Ireland do you know – my daughter’s violin dating from the 1800s is made of sycamore and has been played by my daughter and myself when and my aunt when we were children, and a great – uncle, that is 4 generations we know of, it sounds very sweet!). We like variety; the genetic base of Ireland’s 28 natives is very narrow as they came over originally on a landbridge/windborne after the Ice Age and spread across the country, it leaves them very vulnerable to wipe-out from disease and/or climate change as is happening to our Ash currently with dieback, as happened to Elm and Scots Pine in the past. Our Number 1 sponsor is Coillte Nature whose nurseries in Carlow do a superb job and have supplied really first-rate saplings. We can’t guarantee any particular mix, this year 2022-23 we are providing either saplings that will grow big (woodland mix), will end up smaller (hedgerow mix) or a combination. If you want particular species then why not organise them yourself from a local nursery, we use what we can get our hands on. Growing from local seed is also a great thing to do if you want to try that. Re; bad trees – the Sitka Spruce and its cousins get a constant bad press; we have not planted any Sitka Spruce yet; we do use paper and sit at wooden desks and on wooden floors and….so we have no objection to such trees. Variety is great, mono culture is not recommended in any area of growing things; after the potato famine in Ireland we know all about the folly of relying on mono culture!
Q; Can you send us free trees?
A; there is no such thing as a Free Tree as our collaborating nurseries here in Ireland have gone to great efforts growing saplings for us with TLC. Having said that if you are interested in planting on public land such as local authority land, parks, roadsides, hospitals, institutions and school grounds then we have received sponsorship from some great people who want to help. We can add you to our list and we will do our best to accommodate you! In return we ask that you commit to storing your trees in a cool place securely in their forestry bags making sure the roots stay moist, planting your trees within a few days and watering your trees until they get established which can be 2 years or so. Unless there is a lot of dry weather that task is not usually too tricky in Ireland. Last thing; protect them from Enemy No. 1; people with strimmers and mowers; as well as the issue where your trees are being engulfed by weeds which slow down the tree’s growth – you can trample on the weeds, pull the weeds and mulch is your friend and looks pretty too. These trees are donated to you for continuous cover woodland so while thinning or pruning may be appropriate at some stage these trees are not being planted as a crop for clear felling but as a permanent home for nature in your locality! We ask also that you provide the GPS co-ordinates for your planting site and share the love by telling your local and social media about our contribution to the #UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration; use #generationrestoration #restore #easytreesie hashtags please if you go in for that kind of thing. We really really like to thank our sponsors and helpers so how about a shout out!
How Many Trees can I Ask For? Due to current licensing issues where 300 saplings or .1 of a hectare (10m X 10m – the size of a big classroom) is the max size you can plant then we are taking orders for 100 – 300 saplings. Fits on the back of an adult bike if you have panniers or the front seat of a car in plastic bin-bag size bags.
Note; a new amendment was made in December 2021 to allow for the planting of up to 1ha (2,500 – 3k saplings) once they are of native varieties without planting in response to our and other groups advocating for an easing of the restrictions on planting. We welcome this amendment. Regulations still exist which are still highly restrictive in comparison to our European and UK neighbours. We continue advocating for improvements to this restriction to allow for an expansion both of the area planted and the species mix to allow for naturalised common Irish trees and mixed fruit orchards in diverse planting schemes to make provision for climate resilience and resistance to disease.
How soon will we know
We are usually out – our motto is #stoptalkingstartplanting – we often do not know until the last minute around Tree Week, late March
How do I get trees?
Please send me your first and last name, address and eircode for your delivery, 2 phone numbers so that the van driver can reach you and does not have to wake us early in the morning or late at night if they cannot find where you are, an email address so we can contact you and how many you want; 100-300 . We will ask you to add them to our map as obviously we do not want to annoy the nurseries near you with people setting up some kind of shop lol. We are waiting to see what we can send this year – there has been a bit of a shortage of small-growing varieties that we like for hedgerow/understorey/garden varieties so if you are particular you may be disappointed; when they’re gone they’re gone.