As well as planting trees, we want to get everyone growing trees!
We are very excited by the huge growth in tree planting, and groundswell of support, with lots of national and local initiatives underway to plant millions of trees across the UK. However, we are wondering where all these trees are going to come from?
There are some fantastic commercial nurseries here in the UK that are working hard and expanding to keep up with the demand. However, they very often have to import saplings from abroad. This is not great from a carbon-footprint point-of-view, and also adds a bio-security risk. Ash Die Back Disease is a recent case in point.
We have already supported Dry Arch Growers in setting up a tree nursery in Bathampton, which has grown on thousands of trees that have been planted out in the local area. We will be launching our very own community tree nursery near Rush Hill this year, and will be looking for your support.
We also aim to inspire and enable people to set up their own community tree nurseries. So we want to get households, schools, community groups, businesses etc growing trees. This could be someone with a bucket who can stratify some seeds over the winter, through to someone with a spare raised bed or greenhouse right up to a landowner with a spare field. It doesn’t have to be complicated – the best ideas are simple ones, and we are here to help you.
So what do we need?
We need to find space to grow trees. This could be an underused raised bed or poly tunnel where someone had intended to grow some veg, but never got round to it. It could be a lawn that you’re bored of mowing. It could be the corner of a field within a school, or an area of a farm. It could be some council-owned land that is under-utilised. It could be in a factory carpark, tended by the people who work there. We want a network of mini nurseries of all sizes.
Each mini nursery will need to be managed by someone. We can provide advice and support, and if we get any funding, then we can supply materials. There may be someone who has a space but no time to manage it – we can put them in touch with someone who has time but no space.
This is going to require a lot of admin and organisation on our part. We plan to automate this as much as possible through the next phase of this website, otherwise we will be slowed down by manual processes and bottle necks as we are run purely by volunteers who do this in their spare time, as well as juggling families, careers and studies. However, if you could help us with the admin and organising, that would be really welcome. Most of this could be done at the end of a phone/laptop.
We have some experience of growing trees ourselves, but frankly we’ve bought 10 for every 1 that we’ve grown, so we would welcome anyone with experience of growing trees, particularly at scale. Perhaps there is a commercial tree nursery or garden centre that would be interested in partnering with us on this.
One of the beautiful things about this idea is that it could be done with no money at all. However, funding would help us achieve more, sooner. It could provide materials for us to supply to schools and local groups e.g. reference books, compost, seeds, tools, raised beds, netting etc. If we got some really decent funding, we could recruit someone to co-ordinate everything. We need public donations, grant-making organisations with relevant schemes, commercial sponsorship and anyone who wants to fundraise for us.
Maybe you can’t do any of these things, but you know someone who might be able to help. Please put them in touch with us. Spread the word.
You can support us in so many ways. Please get in touch.