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5 of the Fastest Growing Trees for Your UK Garden

silver birch trees at sunset in the snow

Choosing the right trees for your garden can be a rewarding experience, especially when you see them flourish and transform your outdoor space. For those who prefer quick results, fast-growing trees are an excellent choice. Here are five of the fastest growing trees ideal for UK gardens, offering both aesthetic beauty and functional benefits.

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Cubbington Pear Tree – HS2

Cubbinbton Pear Tree was named ‘Tree Of The Year 2015’ and is thought to be the largest wild pear tree in the UK giving it the status of a ‘Champion Tree’. Sadly despite great efforts to protect the tree it is due to be bulldozed to make way for HS2. The tree is thought to have stood as a silent witness of time for over 250 years.

Thankfully cuttings were taken by Paul Labous, a Bedfordshire based Horticultural Lecturer at Shuttleworth College. The cuttings have successfully taken and are now being planted locally to continue the legacy of this majestic giant. The first saplings are being planted in the grounds of St Mary’s Church in Cubbington and in the grounds of both Primary Schools in the village.

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Genetic Reserve Wester Ross – Protecting Scotland’s National Tree

An area in Scotland has been awarded special protection and awarded the title of a Genetic Reserve. The Beinn Eighe nature reserve in Wester Ross has been named as the first Genetic Conservation Area in the UK to help protect the DNA fingerprint of the areas Scots Pine Tree. The unique climate and environment of this area means that the trees that grow here are thought result in the most ‘Scottish’ Scots Pine Trees worthy of special protection. The area is home to over 10,000 Scots Pine trees some of which are thought to be around 350 years old.

In 1951 this area of Caledonian Pine Forest was designated as a National Nature Reserve, the first of its kind in the UK. It has now the UK’s first Gene Conservation Unit.

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Billion dollar Blossom

Every spring in Japan sees one of the World’s finest displays of blossom as the cherry tree (known as Sakura in Japan) bursts into flower. This season is celebrated across Japan and draws millions of tourists each year. It is thought to contribute around $2.7Billion dollars to the Japanese economy each year. Not bad for a flower! The season can run from January to May depending on the location however most commonly the blossom peaks in April.

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Deforestation – Tropical forests disappearing at an alarming rate

Tropical forests are still being cut down at a rate of 30 football pitches every minute. Much of this deforestation is taking place in areas of primary forest, areas of untouched and pristine biodiversity. The Brazilian amazon still sees the greatest deforestation but countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malaysia, Indonesia, Peru & Madagascar also have alarmingly high rates of deforestation.

In 2002 Brazil and Indonesia made up 71% of the worlds Primary Tropical forests. In 2018 this figure had dropped to a shocking 46%. Reasons for deforestation are most commonly associated with timer trade (both legal and illegal), and farming with population rises putting more and more pressure on both.

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Tree of the year 2020

Members of the public are being urged to nominate stunning trees with fascinating stories to compete in the Tree of the Year contest.

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Tapping Birch Water

Harvesting water from birch trees goes back almost 5000 years but it has only recently started to creep back into foraging methods of the modern age. Birch trees produce an enormous flow of water/sap during certain times of the year. So much so that if harvested correctly up to 5 litres per day can be tapped without affecting the health of the tree. The water is very pure having been filtered through the xylem vessels of the tree. It tastes like normal spring water but with a sweeter woody hint to it. The water collected will not stay fresh for long so there are several methods of keeping the water including drinking it fresh/neat as a tonic, reducing it into a syrup, or turning it into birch sap wine. The best time of year to tap the birch trees is approximately 1 month before the leaves shoot. It is important to follow the correct methods of doing so to avoid damaging the tree.

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ASH Dieback - Chalara Fraxinea

Recently in the news there has been a lot reported on the problem of a fungus called Chalare Fraxinea affecting the Ash Trees in the UK. The consequences for the ash tree population in the UK could be catastrophic.

Ash trees make up approximately 30% of the total deciduous tree species in the UK, around 80 million trees, so if this disease spreads as much as predicted our woodlands will look dramatically different. Since the beginning of November this year there has already been around 100,000 trees destroyed because of the disease. It is thought that it may have been brought over to the UK in a consignment of Ash from the Netherlands. In Europe it has been widespread since first being reported in Poland in 1992. In Sweden it has affected 90% of the Nations ash trees.

The Forestry Commission have classed it as a ‘quarantine’ plant pathogen and now have taken steps to try to control the outbreak. The disease is particularly virulent in young trees however it has also been found on mature trees.

The disease can be spread by the wind, movement of the infected trees, logs, un sawn and untreated wood and even by human contamination. So vigilance and quick action is important to stop the progress of this disease.

Symptoms and what to look out for – Forestry Commission (pdf doc, 703kb)

News flash - 21 November 2012

East Lancashire has first case of Ash Dieback confirmed.

There has been reports of the disease being found in the east of the county, affecting young trees just recently planted.

Various Other New Stories of Interest

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