Author Archives: Craig Turner

70,000 trees to take root in Scottish schools

An Edinburgh forest nursery is distributing nearly three quarters of a million trees to schools and community groups across the UK as part of a scheme to help tackle climate change.

East Lothian nursery Alba Trees, is providing a range of packs to suit different needs on behalf of the Woodland Trust on a first come first served basis to any groups that will use them to help green public spaces.

Nearly 4,000 schools and other groups will receive 718,000 saplings this month, thanks to the initiative which is funded by Sainsbury’s, People’s Postcode Lottery, Yorkshire Tea and Selfridges.

In Scotland alone, 69,855 trees are being sent out to 339 different organisations.

Woodland Trust Scotland Director Carol Evans said tree planting had never been higher on the social and political agenda, amid increasing public awareness that we are in a climate crisis.

“People are waking up to the message that trees are a big part of the solution to tackling climate change,” she said.

Read the full article here

 

Forestry Commission release Forestry Statistics 2019

 

The Forestry Commission is responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands & last month they released their Forestry Statistics 2019 report.

We had a read through and pulled out some of the key findings regarding the UK’s Woodland Area & Planting:

As of 31st March 2019, the UK has a total of 3.19 million hectares of woodland – 13% of the total UK land area. 27% of this woodland is owned or managed by Forestry Commission (Forestry England, Forestry Land & Scotland, Natural Resources Wales & Forest Service (Northern Ireland)).

There are 1.4m hectares of certified woodland in the UK (as independently audited against the UK Woodland Assurance Standard) representing 44% of that total area. (Forestry certification schemes exist to promote good forest practice and are often used as an indicator of sustainable forest management.)

Woodland Creation

The benefits of woodland creation are well known including flood prevention, enhancing biodiversity and the many health benefits they provide, but we mustn’t overlook their ability to store carbon. They soak up carbon dioxide, removing it from our atmosphere and slow the changes to our climate.

Between 2018 – 19 13,000 hectares of new woodland were created in the UK, with conifers accounting for 60% of that new planting area.

At 13.4 thousand hectares in 2018 – 19, the current level of new planting represents a 47% increase from the 9.1 thousand hectares achieved in the previous year and continues to increase from 2015-16!

The full report can be read here; https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/forestry-statistics/forestry-statistics-2019/

 

Royal Scottish Forestry Society – 2019 Programme

Alba Trees is a corporate member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society and General Manager – Chris Allan – is regional Chairman and a member of the Board.

The Society exists to promote excellence of forestry in Scotland for the benefit of the present and future generations. What they do brings people together to improve knowledge and understanding of forestry with a strong emphasis on sharing practical experience.  They have an active programme of field visits across Scotland. This provides an opportunity to visit a wide variety of woods and forest and discuss their management and development.

They also produce a highly regarded journal, Scottish Forestry, that is released quarterly and organise annual study tours in different parts of the country.

Members come from across all sections of the forest industry in Scotland ranging from those with an interest in the forests, woods and trees of Scotland to forestry professionals and those with a broader interest in the land and trees.

If you would like to find out more, then please visit the website: http://www.rsfs.org.uk/.

The programme for 2019 has been released and can be found here.

Chemical and Non-chemical Control Options for Hylobius

Pine Weevil (Hylobius abietis) are a major problem on forestry restock sites and a particularly heavy outbreak can destroy up to 80% of plants.

Historically, plants were sprayed with insecticides either on the nursery or in the field in order to prevent or limit attack, however, there are increasing calls for the use of chemicals in the natural environment to be restricted meaning that alternative options need to be explored.

At Alba, we provide chemical treatment options when requested by the customer under controlled conditions on the nursery, however, we believe that other methods can be just as effective with far reduced environmental impacts.

 

Chemical Control Options for Hylobius – Alba is one of the only nurseries in the UK to have a mechanical spray race for the application of insecticide.

Race

We can offer a full plant spray or a reduced top-spray in conjunction with the use of WEENETS.

The accuracy allowed by the use of a mechanical spray machine means that the chemical remains effective for an extended period in the field, providing the following benefits:

  • Applied with maximum operator safety precautions
  • Every tree is treated
  • No need to carry out first season field inspections
  • Reduced need for top-up field sprays
  • Reduced health & safety risk associated with field spraying
  • Minimal environmental impact

Weevil

Alba has recently partnered with ICL to provide MERIT to the forestry sector.

MERIT FOREST is the only systemic pesticide for the control of Hylobius – it acts by both contact and systemic action.

The active ingredient – Imidacloprid – disrupts the nervous system of insects, but not mammals. Treated trees will not affect non-target insects.

Considerable testing of the product has taken place, with impressive results. A pre-planting application helps to reduce the gnawing damage caused by Hylobius to conifers during the year of application and significantly reduces severe tree damage and death versus untreated plants or even Alpha Cypermethrin.

Trials

MERIT FOREST is very gentle to the treated plant and does not damage new growth. It is also comfortable to use and handle when planting, with no allergic reaction to the user.

 

Non-Chemical Control Options – we believe that a number of non-chemical options can be explored in order to reduce the impact of Hylobius.

GOOD SILVICULTURAL PRACTICE including the use of containerised plants that lend themselves to excellent early establishment can be beneficial in the fight against Hylobius. This allows plants to get above the invading weeds and to become strong and girthy enough to withstand weevil attack. The application of controlled release fertilisers at the time of planting also boosts early development. Alba provides a range of fertiliser products that cost 3.1p per plant and the benefits of containerised trees are discussed below.

Extended Planting Season

Planting can be carried out throughout the year, provided there is sufficient moisture in the ground.

Ease of Planting

Hand planting is speeded up as the planters do not have to contend with different sized root systems. The uniform nature of the root plugs also lend themselves to mechanical planting.

Excellent Early Establishment

Rapid early growth also enables the plant to get above the invading weeds – saving time and money on early crop care. This can be supplemented by the application of our specially developed fertiliser.

Cell

ALBACOTE is a controlled release tree fertiliser specifically developed and tested for UK forestry. It is a blend of NPK suitable for all types of trees and sites which will release slowly ensuring excellent establishment and growth and does not leach out under excessively waterlogged conditions.

10g is applied to each tree at planting and one 1.5kg bag will cover one full tray or bag of Alba stock.

WP_20160608_11_05_40_Pro

WEENETS have been developed by Alba as a step towards reducing the amount of chemical used in the forest and to protect newly planted trees against  Pine Weevil.

The lightweight net is fitted to the tree at the nursery – each net is individually positioned around the root plug and lower part of the stem. Once planted out, the roots and side shoots can easily grow through the net and develop normally.

Planters have found the netted trees even easier to plant than regular stock.

WeeBar

WEEBARS can be used in conjunction with the WeeNet, the WeeBar plastic collar patented by Alba acts as a physical barrier to prevent weevil climbing the stem of the plant. Still in the trial phase, the collar is fitted at the nursery and incurs minimal additional costs per plant to the customer.

 

Contact our Sales team on 01620 825 058 or sales@albatrees.co.uk to discuss further.

Royal Scottish Forestry Society: Lothian and Borders Field Day

Dunglass event promotional outline – V1

Royal Scottish Forestry Society: Lothian and Borders Field Day

Forest Management, recreation and competing land uses

Dunglass Estate, Cockburnspath, Tuesday 4th July 2017

RV 10:00 hrs Farm Dairy, TD13 5XF. OS: NT 763 722

Dunglass is a fascinating example of a modern day diversified estate business, mixing farming and commercial forestry with a popular wedding venue and holiday accommodation. The Estates boasts a picturesque designed landscape with extensive policy woodlands, complete with an ancient weighing tree, strawberry tree and a 15th Century Gothic chapel with Knights Templar Cross.

With thanks to Estate owner, Simon Usher and Savills, who act as agents for forestry at Dunglass, the field day will offer a valuable opportunity to discuss the following topics:-

Long terms forest management; forest plans; recreation & public access; competing land uses; sporting; Low Impact Silviculture; deer management; thinning and clear felling; climate change resilience; pests and diseases; timber transport and woodland creation.

Please bring a packed lunch and outdoor clothing for the day.

Please contact Virginia Harden Scott if attending: virginia.harden@csgnt.org.uk / 01501 824197

Please advise in advance if you have any special access requirements.

To visit the Dunglass Estate Website, click here.

Controlled Release and Top-Dress Fertilisers

Over the years at Alba Trees we have spent time and resource researching the most suitable formulation of fertiliser for UK forestry application. AlbaCote has been a huge success when applied at the time of planting and results continue to be impressive.
We have recently launched a controlled release fertiliser for acidic soils and also an instant top-dress solution for application in the field.

ALBACOTE – Controlled Release Fertiliser
15-25-6
AlbaCote is a uniquely formulated controlled-release fertiliser containing Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium as well as vital trace elements for use in woodland planting — both new planting and restock sites.
Each granule of AlbaCote has a uniform composition for a more even nutrient release pattern.
AlbaCote consists of a strictly controlled blend of nutrients surrounded by an elastic resin coat. The rate of nutrient release is directly affected by soil temperature.
Trace elements: 0.01% Boron; 0.05% Copper; 0.27% Iron; 0.06% Manganese; 0.015% Molybdenum; 0.015% Zinc.
In UK forestry conditions, AlbaCote will provide a gradual release over a period of two growing seasons. The application of AlbaCote at the time of planting provides an early boost to top and root growth.
AlbaCote is safe to use and environmentally friendly.
Rate of Application: 10g per tree
Cost per Plant: 3.1p

ALBACOTE ‘B’ – Controlled Release Fertiliser for Acidic Soils
9-20-8 + 3Mg0 + 0.1B
Like the original AlbaCote, we have developed a uniquely formulated controlled-release fertiliser that is specially developed for use on acidic soils to alleviate problems including Boron deficiency.
AlbaCote ‘B’ contains ten times the Boron of the original AlbaCote.
Low Boron availability is particularly common in acidic soils and AlbaCote ‘B’ looks to counter against the deficiencies this may cause including reduced root development and environmental stress that will affect the growing tips leading to multiple leaders and dieback of the growing buds. AlbaCote ‘B’ is safe, reliable and easy to use and is environmentally friendly.
Rate of Application: 10g per tree
Cost per Plant: 3.1p

ALBATOP – Instant Top-Dress Fertiliser
13-15-13 + CaO + SO3
AlbaTop is a top-dressing mini homogenous granule with advanced technology that encourages healthy and vigorous root growth and hardy top growth.
The long-lasting nutrients produce healthy plants with good colour and is safe and easy to use at high application rates. The fine, homogenous granule allows for an even distribution.
AlbaTop utilises a proven advanced technology for best results that minimises the risk of Nitrogen being lost through natural processes and Phosphorus being locked up in the soil.
The advanced coating is a water soluble polymer technology that is unique to this product. This ‘shield’ protects Nitrogen and Phosphorus from excessive gasification and leaching, allowing the nutrients to be more readily available to the plant precisely when needed.
AlbaTop has a positive environmental impact and protects water courses from leached nitrates and phosphates.
Rate of Application: 25g per tree
Cost per Plant: 3.1p

For further details and pricing, please contact the Sales office:
Tel: 01620 825 058
Email: sales@albatrees.co.uk

AlbaCote Fertiliser

Woodland nutrition is complex. Different sites will have different requirements and it is often too expensive or impractical to address individual site requirements. A more general approach is often used, usually involving broadcast applications of rock phosphate on to sites.

This approach, however, has significant drawbacks:

  • It is not targeted and weed species benefit too
  • It is an expensive and dirty operation
  • The potential for run-off and pollution of water courses is high, this also leads to economic loss

The application of a granular, coated fertiliser direct into the planting hole at the time of planting overcomes these problems in a simple and cost-effective way.

 Harvesting

Figure 1: Typical harvesting site.

AlbaCote

AlbaCote (15-25-6) is a uniquely formulated controlled-release fertiliser (CRF) containing Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) as well as vital trace elements for use in woodland planting – both new planting sites and restock sites.

N – involved in the production of new tissue. Good levels of nitrogen in the plant over winter provide a good start in spring.

P – vital for energy transfer processes in plant tissues and important for root development.

K – essential for growth processes including photosynthesis as well as being vital for plant hardiness.

How Does AlbaCote Work?

In contrast to other CRF products, each granule of AlbaCote has a uniform composition – it is NOT made up of individual straight fertiliser components. This provides a more even nutrient release pattern.

AlbaCote consists of a strictly controlled blend of nutrients surrounded by an elastic resin coat. The rate of nutrient release is directly affected by soil temperature.

In UK forestry conditions, AlbaCote will generally provide a gradual release over a period of two growing seasons. This is considered sufficient to get young roots growing healthily and in search of naturally occurring nutrients.

Diagram

Figure 2: Diagram showing the nutrients contained within AlbaCote and how it works.

AlbaCote (15-25-6)

15% Nitrogen (3% as nitrate, 12% as ammonium)

25% Phosphate (P2O5)

6% Potash (K2O)

(16% Sulphur (SO3))

Trace elements:

0.01% Boron; 0.05% Copper; 0.27% Iron; 0.06% Manganese; 0.015% Molybdenum; 0.015% Zinc

Environmental Considerations

Guidelines on the application of fertiliser, produced by Scottish Environmental and Rural Services recommend that:

Fertiliser must be applied on land in such a way and at such times that the risk of pollution to the water environment is minimised.”

The use of AlbaCote CRF directly addresses this requirement by the accurate placement of nutrients and the fact that it does not leach out under excessive waterlogged conditions.

Ergonomic Considerations

The quantity of AlbaCote required per plant is much less than traditional ‘powdered’ fertilisers. In addition, AlbaCote is dry and clean to handle. Together, these make the application more cost-effective and less hazardous for planters.

AlbaCote is supplied in 1.2kg or 1.5kg bags, with only 10g per plant required at the time of planting.

Fert

Figure 3: 1.5kg bag of AlbaCote, with a 10g sample.

New Planting Sites

For a number of years Alba has been supplying CRF products to native pine schemes in the Scottish Highlands to aid establishment on what are often poor nutrient sites.

These sites are subject to strict controls to ensure minimal environmental impact. The application of our CRF products enables these objectives to be met whilst providing an excellent start for the young trees.

“The use of Alba’s CRF has made a significant difference to the success of establishing trees on poor nutrient status sites. Application of CRF has meant the difference between getting broadleaves established or not.”

John Mackay, Treeline Forestry Ltd, Inverness

26082010208

Figure 4: Pine after 4 years – with CRF (Gairloch Estate)

Restock Sites

Historically, little regard has been given to the potential benefits of CRF on restock sites where it is assumed residues from the previous crop will provide adequate nutrients for the replacement trees.

However, with an increase in residue harvesting, the widespread practice of burying residues and planting mounds becoming more commonplace this is no longer a safe assumption to make.

Slow early growth extends the period of risk for young plants – making them susceptible to vermin, weevils and weed competition. Ideally, plants should have sufficient vigour to overcome such threats in the first two years otherwise an extended maintenance period is likely with considerable additional costs.

The application of AlbaCote at the time of planting provides an early boost to both top and root growth – the latter leading to improved access to composting residues and naturally occurring nutrients.

AlbaCote trials have taken place on restock sites across the country, with encouraging results.

 Poster

Figure 5: Results of AlbaCote trials conducted on 4 sites in the Scottish Borders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chemical and Non-chemical Control Options for Hylobius

Alba’s cell grown stock and a range of additional options – including controlled release fertiliser and protection against weevil damage – mean that we are the ideal choice when planting restock sites.

Extended Planting Season

Planting can be carried out throughout the year, provided there is sufficient moisture in the ground.

Ease of Planting

Hand planting is speeded up as the planters do not have to contend with different sized root systems. The uniform nature of the root plugs also lend themselves to mechanical planting.

Excellent Early Establishment

Rapid early growth also enables the plant to get above the invading weeds – saving time and money on early crop care. This can be supplemented by the application of our specially developed fertiliser.

Cell

ALBACOTE is a controlled release tree fertiliser specifically developed and tested for UK forestry. It is a blend of NPK suitable for all types of trees and sites which will release slowly ensuring excellent establishment and growth and does not leach out under excessively waterlogged conditions.

10g is applied to each tree at planting and one 1.5kg bag will cover one full tray or bag of Alba stock.

WP_20160608_11_05_40_Pro

WEENETS have been developed by Alba as a step towards reducing the amount of chemical used in the forest and to protect newly planted trees against Large Pine Weevil (Hylobius abietis).

The lightweight net is fitted to the tree at the nursery – each net is individually positioned around the root plug and lower part of the stem. Once planted out, the roots and side shoots can easily grow through the net and develop normally.

Planters have found the netted trees even easier to plant than regular stock.

When used in conjunction with a light chemical top-spray in areas of heavy weevil pressure, initial results have shown WEENETS to be very effective.

WeeBar

Chemical Control Options for Hylobius – Alba is one of the only nurseries in the UK to have a mechanical spray race for the application of insecticide.

Race

We can offer a full plant spray or a reduced top-spray in conjunction with the use of WEENETS.

The accuracy allowed by the use of a mechanical spray machine means that the chemical remains effective for an extended period in the field, providing the following benefits:

  • Applied with maximum operator safety precautions
  • Every tree is treated
  • No need to carry out first season field inspections
  • Reduced need for top-up field sprays
  • Reduced health & safety risk associated with field spraying
  • Minimal environmental impact

Weevil

Alba has recently partnered with ICL to provide MERIT to the forestry sector.

MERIT FOREST is the only systemic pesticide for the control of Hylobius – it acts by both contact and systemic action.

The active ingredient – Imidacloprid – disrupts the nervous system of insects, but not mammals. Treated trees will not affect non-target insects.

Considerable testing of the product has taken place, with impressive results. A pre-planting application helps to reduce the gnawing damage caused by Hylobius to conifers during the year of application and significantly reduces severe tree damage and death versus untreated plants or even Alpha Cypermethrin.

Trials

MERIT FOREST is very gentle to the treated plant and does not damage new growth. It is also comfortable to use and handle when planting, with no allergic reaction to the user.