Local landscape architect, Michael Felton, is encouraging islanders to take part in the national Tree Council’s seed gathering season, which started on Sunday (23rd September).
The Tree Council launched seed gathering season to inspire everyone, particularly school children and families, to collect seeds, fruits and nuts in order to grow the trees of the future. Growing trees can have great benefits, particularly if they are of local provenance.
‘Encouraging trees of local provenance is particularly important as they’re more likely to flourish than trees which are not already adapted to the local environment,’ said Mr Felton. ‘They help to restore and conserve natural beauty as well as providing habitats for many small animals and insects, whether they’re planted in urban or rural environments.’
Seed gathering season runs for one month because the period from the end of September to late October is the optimum time to gather most seeds.
‘Seeds can be found in a variety of locations within the Island, for example woodland, farmland and along the Parish lanes. They can vary from Acorns from Oaks to fruiting bodies and Conkers on Sweet and Horse Chestnuts. Obtain permission from landowners before straying onto private land’,’ added Mr Felton.
Other trees such as Ash can be grown on from collecting keys or seeds; however these need to be collected when they are green and not too dried out as soaking will be necessary in order to aid germination. Acorns and Chestnuts need to be collected and stored in a warm, dry place (unless a cloche or heated greenhouse is at your disposal) following germination and given sufficient light to grown on when they will be ready for planting.
The best time of year to plant broadleaves is late winter, preferably before the end of March. Conifers can be transplanted a little later in April.
Some key tips for seed gathering season:
• Oak, in the form of Turkey Oak, Evergreen and Common Oak are easily grown from Acorns found in Jersey. These should be planted in carefully selected sites in the dormant season, when they are out of leaf and where they will have sufficient room to develop.
• It is recommended that Turkey Oak and Evergreen Oak should not be introduced into ecologically sensitive areas as they are deemed to be of ‘low’ ecological value when compared to the Common native Oak and are consequently considered to be invasive.
• Alder and Birch can be grown on without a growing medium of soil/sand. Place in linen bags and soak in cold water for two days, then transfer to the fridge.
For more information on collecting, treatment, sowing and transplanting from seed visit the website www.treegrowing.tcv.org.uk.
Michael Felton has over thirty years’ experience of working as a landscape architect in the Channel Islands. He was appointed chairman of the landscape committee for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust from 1985-1990 and has also been an adviser and committee member of the Jersey Association of the Men of the Trees, (now ‘Jersey Trees for Life’) for 30 years and was chairman between 1991 and 1994. In 1978 Mr Felton established Michael Felton Ltd, a practice that has evolved from single practitioner into a team of experienced and qualified, award winning landscape architects.
The Tree Council was founded in 1974, with government backing, as the umbrella body for UK organisations involved in tree planting, care and conservation. The idea was to keep up the momentum of National Tree Planting Year 1973 (with its slogan of “Plant a Tree in ‘73”). Today the Tree Council’s members range from professional non-governmental specialist and trade organisations, including other conservation charities, to local authorities and government bodies.
Seed gathering season runs from 23rd September to 23rd October 2012.