Gloucestershire farmers are working with the Woodland Trust to plant 6,000 trees across the county, which will help plug the gaps left by ash dieback and with the drive towards net zero.
The More Trees 4 Farms scheme builds on a similar initiative run by the NFU and the Woodland Trust in 2020 and means 12,000 trees will have been planted by farmers in the county over the last couple of years.
The arrival of ash die back is expected to have a particularly big impact in Gloucestershire, as it’s likely to kill 95 to 98% of all ash trees and many of the county’s woodlands are 100% ash. Overall in the UK, ash accounts for about 12% of broad-leaved woodlands.
The replacement trees, which have been donated by the Trust, are species suitable for the county such as oak, beech and lime, smaller varieties such as maple and hazel, and a variety of shrubs for hedges, edges, colour and berries, like hawthorn, hazel and dogwood.
Farmers were invited to apply for the number of trees they thought they could find a home for, with collection in a ‘covid safe’ manner arranged from locations across the county. They were encouraged to share pictures of the trees on social media and feedback was very positive.
Gloucestershire NFU chairman James Cox, who is pictured with his freshly-planted trees, said: “Our thanks go to all involved in this program and we look forward to the benefits that our farms and the county will see from all the planting.”
There is currently no cure for ash dieback but is hoped that, in the longer-term, disease-resistant varieties of ash will be developed.