Wicklow Communities Tree Growing Project
Every Spring during National Tree Week, many individuals and community groups take on the responsibility of planting hundreds of native trees throughout the county. Native tree samplings, donated by Coillte are distributed throughout the county. But for those who want to grow their own saplings from a local Wicklow woodland and commit to the process from sourcing to raising to planting and nurturing Wicklow’s future trees this training project will bring a win-win for communities, Wicklow’s biodiversity, carbon storage and ultimately Climate Action at a local level.
An Outdoor Classroom, Biodiversity & Climate Action Project
Such is the passion and interest in trees, hedgerows and a desire to learn and do more, last Autumn, three Community Garden groups, with the support and funded by Wicklow’s County Council Environmental Awareness Office, took on this Climate Action Project. The groups being, Headlands Community Garden in Bray, Laragh Community Gardens, and Greystones and Kilcoole Community Garden agreed to ‘host’ the training but importantly the many pots and sown seeds that were collected in the woods and hedgerows of Co. Wicklow.
This is an ‘outdoor classroom’, biodiversity, climate action project where the first participants learnt how, when, where and what to do with the tree seeds that were collected. And yes, hands got dirty and stained with berry juice!
Despite it not being a mast year, (oak and beech and some others only produce a heavy seed crop every 4 years) other berries, nuts and seeds were collected. In addition to tree seeds being collected, cuttings of other native shrub species (e.g. Elderflower) were taken for propagation. Seeds were stratified, dry stored, cold stratified, sown directly and Spring sown. In March 2021, some germination has occurred. Some species can take from 6-18 months to break dormancy and germinate!
The beauty about this training is both kids (accompanied by a parent) and adults engaged in the process. This is a fun, proactive and definitely one for posterity. later this year, (Summer 2022), we will be looking for other groups or community gardens to start their own tree nursery. All materials and a qualified horticulturist are provided.