Seed Gathering with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
At Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, we are working in a number of ways to create a legacy for future generations of wildlife. This includes collecting seed from trees, although what we then do with it has changed over time…
Past: We have been preserving the genes of a few of Derbyshire’s thousands of veteran and ancient trees by collecting their seeds and growing them into small saplings that then get planted out on site close to where they originally came from. By sharing our experience, we have also helped rangers and volunteers to start propagating using seed from heritage trees at Elvaston Castle Country Park.
Present: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is participating in the UK National Tree Seed Project to collect seed samples of nationally important trees and shrubs. We are working with local landowners, community groups and willing volunteers. Equipped with a variety of seed-collecting paraphernalia, including pole pruner, buckets, catapult and tarpaulins, we aim to collect seeds at the point of natural dispersal. Seed from each tree is put into separate bags labelled with a unique number so they can be traced back for reference in future research. Before we send them off to be deep-frozen in the Millennium Seed Bank, we extract the seed from the berries, a messy and time-consuming process when you have thousands at a time, but necessary to maximise the lifespan of the collection.
Future: We have already made 22 collections from 10 sites across North, South and Mid-Derbyshire, including a few of our own nature reserves. Next year we are planning to bring the project to the Limestone Journeys area, with several collections of seeds from the parkland at Hardwick Hall, including familiar species like Hawthorn and Holly. After that, using the skills and knowledge gained on these projects, there are plans to try growing trees to order for some local sites, and also to try growing trees from cuttings.
For further information please read on by following these links:
With thanks to Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service (DACES).