Vote for the north's Tree of the Year

Could the Tree of Witness in Enagh Lough be this year's winner?  

THE Woodland Trust has invited members of the public to nominate their favourite tree, as the search for 2016’s Tree of the Year begins.

The competition is open to any living tree in the north which “has a story behind it.” There are also separate contests for England, Scotland and Wales.

A panel of experts in each region will choose a shortlist from the entries submitted, before the winner is decided by a public vote.

Each winner will go on to the European Tree of the Year competition, organised by the Environmental Partnership Association.

The Peace Tree, an oak in Belfast’s Woodvale Park, came out on top last year, followed by the Tree of Witness in Derry, while the iconic Dark Hedges near Ballymoney took third place.

Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland, said that the north “certainly have our share of remarkable trees”.

“We hope that everyone will get behind this year’s contest and we’re delighted to be able to offer an incentive, which could take the form of a bespoke care package,” he said.

Jill Butler, Woodland Trust ancient tree specialist, gave some insight into what the judging panel was looking for.

“We’re looking for a tree with a story, legend, historical significance, or one which is a local landmark,” she said.

This year, each region’s winning tree will also get a £1,000 Tree LC pamper package from The Woodland Trust. The package – carefully tailored to the individual tree – might assist pruning, weeding, fencing or professional management advice.

Shortlisted trees with over 1,000 votes will also receive £500 worth of care.

Any individual, group or organisation can enter through the Woodland Trust’s website until Friday July 29.

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