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Encouraging the youngsters

15th May 2021 @ 6:06am – by Adrian Leighton
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sapling 1

Encouraging the youngsters by Adrian Leighton

The youngsters I am think of are of the arboreal kind. In plain language that means TREES.

Much has been said recently about the need to plant trees. The UK has lost a huge percentage of our forest area to become the least tree-ed country in Europe.

This imbalance of the ecosystem has a profound effect not only on the whole of wildlife but also human well-being and ability to flourish.

It is encouraging that this is now being recognised and huge efforts are being made to address the situation. We are all being asked to see how we too can plant trees. This concern is often linked to reduction in carbon pollution.

What is not said is that the ability of young trees to do this is greatly limited.

This is for two reasons.

  • The first is the small structure of the tree makes it unable to absorb carbon from the atmosphere;
  • the second is that it takes a number of years for the tree to develop a symbiotic relationship with network of organisms in the ground which will eventually draw down that carbon into the soil.


This means that the justification for cutting down mature trees by planting new trees, (as is planned on the HS2 route), is very disingenuous. It will take up to 50 years for a significant amount of carbon to be absorbs by new trees. This does not, of course, mean that it is not worth planting new trees but they must be planted with a view to the future. It will be the children now and their children that will benefit from what we do now.

On Turnpike Fields we have a local opportunity to add to the new tree count. However, we have to do this with care. The best new tree nurture is to protect those that seed naturally. These have the same DNA as the existing trees and therefore are more readily able to establish the connections with the life underground. Around the fields we have about a dozen oak saplings growing naturally.

The Working Party will in the near future agree an overall policy for the planting of trees which will bear in mind suitability of habitat, species which will enhance biodiversity, species appropriate for the area and landscape, positioning that does not hinder future uses of the fields as a public amenity area.

sapling 2

Recently some saplings were offered to us and bearing in mind these requirements they have been planted in an area where hopefully they can thrive and enhance both the ecosystem of the fields and our enjoyment.

The saplings planted were 8 Oak, 3 Scots Pine in an area at the top of the bottom field in proximity to trees of a similar species. Over time this area, which is not usually disturbed by human activity, will grow to become a wooded area. When the shade has been established then woodland plants, like Bluebells will have a habitat to grow in. Also planted were 5 holly saplings which will over time form a hedge corridor along beside the canal in the same area. Other trees such as Hawthorn and Blackthorn will be added to form this hedge.

We are now at the end of the planting season and will be looking at further planting in the Autumn. However, if you have a sapling growing in your garden or on your land which you think might be suitable please let me know. I cannot promise that it can be used but consideration will be given to it. I already have had offers of a Horse Chestnut and Silver Birch so please contact me at adrianleighton@btinternet.com

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