Life

Outdoors: Woodland Trust's tree planting scheme is really taking root

Efforts are under way to green the landscapes and tackle our lack of woodland cover
Andrea McKernon

FREE trees are branching out to schools and community groups, with almost 19,000 set to brighten landscapes across the north. Schools, beekeepers, sports clubs, Scouts and Guides clubs, and animal rescue charities are among the groups that have planted trees this spring with the help of the Woodland Trust.

Collective efforts are helping to green the landscapes and tackle Northern Ireland's lack of woodland cover, which accounts for a mere eight per cent of our overall land area, compared to the European average of 46 per cent.

And it's not too late for would-be tree planters to make their mark. Schools, youth groups and community groups are now invited to apply for free trees for planting in November.

The packs come in three sizes, ranging from 30 native saplings for a small copse or short hedgerow to 420 trees, enough to cover an acre of land or create a hedge of around 85 metres.

Choose from species that will flourish in wetlands, attract wildlife, give year-round colour or provide a bountiful wild harvest.

Gregor Fulton from the Woodland Trust said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to come together, roll their sleeves up, and really make a difference."

The packs are free and come with all the information you need to get planting. It couldn't be easier. Trees bring so many benefits. They make our schools and neighbourhoods greener and healthier, while providing much-needed homes for wildlife.

To find out more and to get your November pack visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees. The deadline for applications is September 8. The trees are funded by Sainsbury's, Ikea Family and Yorkshire Tea.

To find out more please contact the Woodland Trust on 028 9127 5787, email wtni@woodlandtrust.org.uk or visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/.

EUROPEAN TREE OF THE YEAR

THE results of the European Tree of the Year contest are in, with Oak Józef in Poland taking the leafy crown. Northern Ireland's champion, the evergreen oak at Rostrevor's Kilbroney Park, came sixth. The 200-year-old holm oak, now widely known as ‘Old Homer', can take a bough after securing 7,101 votes.

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