Helping outside the planting season.
Updated: Sep 23, 2019
We don't need to wait until November to help with the process of creating more woodlands, we can get involved right now. . This screenshot from www.futureforestsnetwork.org shows the long term ongoing tree planting projects that have been added to the map since November 2018. . Several of these groups have been operating for over 20 years and have planted hundreds of thousands of trees. . Outside the November to April (predominantly) planting season these groups are getting on with a variety of other essential tasks.. and they could do with our help. . Here are 3 examples of what you might be helping with. . 1) Maintenance of previously planted sites to maximise the % of the new saplings that survive (can be 90 to 95% when done well). Weeding, tube checks and bracken bashing ensures as many of those saplings thrive as possible. Checking out planting sites 1, 3, 7 or 15 years after planting really brings it home how quickly we can make a difference to a landscape. It is likely you will leave these days feeling proud of those who planted before and hopeful for the future. . 2) Seed collecting is gentle and sociable. It stimulates and satisfies some old hunter gatherer instincts. It feels great to be involved in harvesting the offspring of our native trees, which will then be carefully planted out to create our future forests. Spindle, birch, oak, crab apple, hazel, rowan, alder, hawthorn.... there aren't many better ways to learn about our natives than this. . 3) Those projects that collect seed invariably also have nurseries where they propagate, tend to, defend (against mice, voles and squirrels etc) and defy the odds to produce thousands of saplings to plant out in future projects. The techniques and skills needed for this are often hard earned over many years of hands on experience and trial and error. Volunteering in nurseries is an amazing opportunity to learn from experts. Getting involved in the early stages of a trees life means you value every sapling that much more during the planting season. . Any landowners thinking of planting but needing some physical help or advice, contact one of these groups. . Any volunteers wanting to help in any part of the forest creation process, go to one of these groups volunteer days. . Any people hoping to set up a community planting group, go along to one of these existing projects volunteer days. See what advice they might have for you. These people are quietly holding a wealth of information. . For an interactive map showing all listed planting related opportunities visit - www.futureforests.org . This will be updated regularly. . "like" the Future Forests Network facebook page to keep up with the latest