Tree nursery re-roots after Covid

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A community tree nursery at Dervaig is taking root again after Covid stunted its growth for four months.

After work on the site in Mull had to come to a halt due to the virus, volunteers are gearing themselves up to carry on with the scheme once more.

An appeal has just gone out for the donation of a tank that could hold anything from 1,000 to 5,000 litres of water so an irrigation system can be set up to nurture the native tree seedlings that will eventually grow there.

Ideally the project is looking for a HDPE water tank, says Mull & Iona Community Trust (MICT) general manager Moray Finch.

There is a burn running by the site and the plan is to take water from it to the tank so the nursery can be water fed.

The community nursery has also now put up deer fencing and deer gates and a polytunnel is also onsite, with volunteers expected to start work putting it up in the next week or so, said Mr Finch.

‘After a four-month hiatus due to Covid, work has started again. It’s great to see,’ he added.

The project has just been registered with the forestry authority so it can start collecting seeds ready to grow on, including acorns and hazelnuts.

MICT is joint partners with Mull Native Woodlands Group in this project. The woodland group was so inspired after taking part in a previous Kew Garden seed bank project that it decided to find a piece of land to grow its own trees from seed and replenish the island’s Atlantic rainforest.

The nursery is on former forestry land next door to Dervaig Community Orchard. Because the orchard was a former rubbish tip, the new project next to it ticked all the right boxes with landfill charity fund EB Scotland to secure a successful bid for £23,000.

The 0.5 hectare forestry site was covered in tree stumps and needed clearing but received help from Mull-based TSL contractors to get the area ready.

Anyone who has a water tank they would be willing to donate should contact mfinch@mict.co.uk

Meanwhile, another Mull & Iona Community Trust project has just been completed at Lochdon on the island.

Thanks to funding split between Sustrans and Argyll and Bute Council, a 30m stretch of new pavement has been tarmacked near 14 houses built last year by West Highland Housing Association. The pavement means youngsters from those houses can safely get to class at Lochdonhead Primary School and back.

‘It’s not the  biggest project we’ve achieved but there’s a huge sense of satisfaction,’ added Mr Finch.