Woodland charity looks to branch out

Ross Bryant
Ross Bryant

A woodland creation charity based on Dartmoor is looking to substantially increase its output. Moor Trees based in South Brent  will soon celebrate twenty years of planting trees throughout South Devon, having planted around ninety thousand new trees since they started in 1999.

Their aim is to restore native broadleaf woodland by growing trees from locally collected seed in their nurseries. The year round operation is staffed by three part-time members. The charity relies on volunteers to help plant trees, in all weathers from November until the end of March. “It’s a year round operation,” said Director Adam Owen. “In September we start collecting seeds until the end of October, those seeds are processed, some we have to take out of their shell or put in the fridge. Once they have germinated we plant them in soil at one of our two tree nurseries until they are ready to be planted permanently at a new site.”

Landowners can approach Moor Trees who conduct an assessment to establish whether funding is available for woodland creation on their land. Depending on the size of the land, grants are available from the Woodland Creation Countryside Stewardship scheme, which covers the cost of the trees and tree protection. Moor Trees plants the trees the following winter and retains the grant which helps fund the charity. Adam believes that they can increase the amount of trees they plant five-fold. Through making some changes to the planting method Adam believes they can go from currently planting ten thousand trees a year to producing around fifty thousand annually. “This is achievable,” said Adam, “It’s about getting people to see that. We aim to be producing and planting fifty thousand annually within three years.”

Adam, who is qualified in woodland management, believes planting ‘cell grown’ trees will help to achieve the increase in their output. Cell grown trees are young trees grown in a pot which have the benefit of a firmly developed root system. “It’s a very efficient system of growing trees, and a lot easier to transport and plant them in the field,” said Adam. If you would like to volunteer the group are planting every Sunday until the end of March. Volunteers also help out every Tuesday and Wednesday in the tree nurseries.

If you would like to volunteer, Moor Trees can be contacted on
01364 649277 or info@moortrees.org.
Website www.moortrees.org and Facebook @moortrees.org

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