The Woodland Trust is asking people across the UK to make sure any trees put into the ground are from – and have been grown on – home soil. The charity has created an accreditation scheme to highlight nurseries selling UK trees.
This new scheme means that tree planters and garden lovers can make sure saplings have come from a safe source. This ensure they will not be contributing to the spread of pests and diseases from other countries.
Between the years 1970 and 2013, 267 introduced plant pathogens became established in Great Britain. Two thirds of these were native to continental Europe.
More recently a new pest, the zigzag elm sawfly, has entered the country – presumably on imported tree stock. The same with ash dieback, which was first confirmed in the UK in 2012.
Lee Dudley, projects manager for the Woodland Trust, said:
“The Woodland Trust has been exclusively planting UK trees since 2012, but we need more people to follow suit. We want to create a consumer movement geared towards planting trees of UK provenance. Together we can protect our countryside land against tree pests and diseases.
“Our UK and Irish Sourced and Grown accreditation scheme is a stamp of approval. It allows peace of mind when buying trees, and means saplings are traceable back to their source. We want more people to ask where their trees come from. Nurseries can ask to join the 21 nurseries that are already part of the programme.”
The scheme began in 2015 and has now 22 nurseries are signed up. It is part of the Trust’s two-pronged approach to biosecurity, and minimalizing the spread of pests and diseases. The charity also wants to see better border control. If plant material more thoroughly checked, there could be fewer pests and diseases enter the UK.
To find out more about the UK and Irish Sourced and Grown Scheme, please visit: http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/uksg.