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Community / Demand for tree growing leads to nursery expansion

SHETLAND Amenity Trust’s nursery is expanding its production of tree saplings in response to an increased interest in planting.

Tree production at the trust’s Staney Hill based nursery is set to rise from 18,000 to 45,000 by next year.

An event to mark the opening of its extended facility on Friday had to be postponed due to the wintry weather conditions.

The nursery expansion has been supported with with a £10,440 contribution from Shetland Community Benefit Fund through Viking Community Fund’s Advance Grant Scheme, a £9,500 grant from Scottish Forestry, and a £5,000 contribution from Woodland Trust Scotland.

Jonathan Hawick of Scottish Forestry and Georgia Smith at the amenity trust’s tree nursery. Photo: Shetland Amenity Trust

Jonathan Hawick of Scottish Forestry said: “We are really pleased to see the growing level of interest in planting trees and this nursery has a crucial role to play in providing suitable, well adapted trees to folk in Shetland.

“The trust is carrying out excellent work collecting seed, including from Shetland’s few remaining native woods and growing them on.

Trust employees are collecting seeds from places such as the steep sided Burn of Valayre in order to plant them out in other woodlands across the isles.

Staney Hill tree nursery.

These old sites are remnants of Scotland’s original woodland and part of the Atlantic forest.

The trust’s Georgia Smith said: “These trees are really important to continue with the genetic diversity of Shetland’s native trees which are well adapted to our conditions.

“We also grow some hardy species from overseas, such as willows and alder from Alaska, to help provide windbreaks and shelter.”

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The Burn of Valayre near Brae.

She added that the hope is to increase planting in Shetland to at least four hectares a year.

Woodland Trust Scotland adviser Gordon Cumming said: “The enthusiasm for woodland creation in Shetland is genuinely inspiring.

“Going by the number of requests we have for croft visits there will be strong demand for locally grown trees and the nursery expansion is going to be critical for the delivery of future schemes.”

Hawick added: “If we are to meet our Scottish Government target for woodland expansion, we need everyone to participate, and that includes those in the Northern and Western Isles.:

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