Oh help! Dun Coillich community land is in trouble.  The newly planted trees are all in the ground, properly protected and doing well. But the extensive planting that took place over the 105 hectares over five years ago has failed the Forestry Commission inspection, writes Trish Waite.
  It is possible that a large amount of grant money (awarded under the Woodland Grant Scheme) may have to be repaid by the Highland Perthshire Community Land Trust, which is a Scottish Charity number SC032801 and is a Scottish Guarantee Company SC227934. No-one wants this to happen.
The lack of growth is due to deer and other grazing animals, possibly poor tree stock, or poor planting, and the harsh winters with freeze and thaw alternating.
We can turn this around with proper fencing around the periphery, small islands of protection within the area to encourage natural regeneration, driving the deer out and replanting.
The Trustees will have to appoint an agent to provide a plan for care and repair that will satisfy the Forestry Commission.
Meanwhile we can all help.  Could you collect from your gardens those small trees or seedlings you don’t want or need?  They just need to be put with some earth into a big pot or sack with some holes in to ensure they don’t get waterlogged.
If the trees are very tiny, we can bring them on in our well-protected nursery area at Dun Coillich. Bear in mind that only native species will be suitable: Scots pine, yew, juniper, birch, rowan, aspen, ash, alder, elder, willow, hawthorn, blackthorn, holly and oak.

Tree Saturday
On Saturday 31 March trees can be brought (bare rooted will be alright for a limited period) to the Town Hall in Aberfeldy.  There will be a tree collecting area outside in the carpark. Inside we will have ‘Tree Saturday – A Celebration of Trees’. We are going to fill it with all things tree related: the promotion of woodlands, conservation information, use of trees for wood, paper, maybe musical instruments, story telling about woods, perhaps a tree photograph competition to be judged at a later date. And of course we can swap and donate trees to the project.
Anyone wishing to contribute with an idea or a stall for this event then please contact Trish Waite through the Comment office - CLOAKING
A community planting session could be organised at a later date.  Collection could be arranged for any redundant fencing materials that people might wish to donate.
To be inspired by a tree planting project, see www.treesforlife.org.uk.  They managed to fence 500 hectares in the Glen Affric area.  23 years and 900,000 trees later they have a young forest.
Our future is waiting to be planted – bring the woods marching to Dun Coillich.


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