From little acorns great oaks grow, and that’s the hope on a Suffolk farm where 600 trees have been planted in a new agroforestry scheme.
Local volunteers and Tree Warden Network members joined farmer and NFU Suffolk County Chair Glenn Buckingham to plant, guard and stake the trees on two neighbouring fields at Helmingham Estate Farms.
Support from partners
The work was supported by partners Suffolk County Council, the Woodland Trust, the Queen’s Green Canopy and Sicon of Bury St Edmunds.
They primarily planted oak trees, grown from acorns taken from ‘mother trees’ situated adjacent to the fields being planted, but the mix also included hornbeam, field maple, sweet chestnut and a few blossoming and fruiting trees.
Planting in just one day
Glenn said: "It was great that the volunteers were able to come along.
"Once they were briefed on what was involved, they became part of a planting machine that moved down the fields and we were able to plant all the trees in just one day.
"The trees have been planted in lines, creating wide alleys for normal arable cropping and will not impede on our usual machinery operations."
Over time, the trees will sequester carbon, create landscape value, provide biodiversity gain and improve air quality.
"Helmingham Estate Farms already has some woodland, and hedges around every field. Our next logical step is to use fields to grow food and timber," said Glenn. "I believe this system would suit and benefit many areas of the country."
Work together with your community
"Just imagine if this can, in the next 10 years, be adopted across 25% of UK farmland," Glenn continued. "The benefits will be over far greater areas than isolated woodland planting, or rewilding specific areas.
"I would urge landowners to work with interested people in their local community. It’s a huge untapped resource. Many people are willing to help, learn and engage."