9 Mar 2022
Blog: Integrating trees network: a growing success
Farmers and crofters across Scotland have been sharing their experiences, warts and all, about growing trees as part of their businesses.
The Integrating Trees Network is a farmer and crofter-led initiative supported by Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government. Its aim is to build up a strong network of farm woodland demonstration sites across Scotland, with the hosts showcasing how growing trees have boosted their business.
The initiative has now run twelve virtual events.
(Photo: Perth Picture Agency)
There are six farm woodland demonstration sites across Scotland, hosted by:
• Andrew Adamson of Messrs W Laird & Son, Netherurd Home Farm, Peeblesshire;
• the Imrie Family of Hillhead Farm, Torrance;
• Andrew and Debbie Duffus, Mains of Auchriachan, Tomintoul;
• Andrew Whiteford, Burnfoot and Ulzieside Farm, Sanquhar,
• the Barbour family, Mains of Fincastle, Pitlochry; and
• the Lockett family, Knockbain Farm, Dingwall.
(Photo: Richard Lockett)
Key messages from our farmers
These fantastic farming hosts have shared their experiences and have produced a number of key practical messages for others who are thinking about growing trees. These are:
• use well known contractors - not always the cheapest but being recommended by others shows they know their job;
• you have to work with what's on the ground, don't try and change it too much or work against it;
• you can do the work yourself, you don’t need to rely on contractors. It can be a steep learning curve and there are challenges. It just takes time and planning, but there is support out there;
• understand your reasons for wanting to plant trees on your land and your business priorities;
• do your research: evaluate your land and monitor your farm to find out what areas are under performing for livestock but could still be suitable for planting trees;
• ask whether having trees on the farm will help diversify the nature of the business to become more adaptable, and in the future will it provide much needed shelter;
• create a habitat for wildlife: life’s pretty boring without wildlife!
• Get going now so you don’t end up saying “I wish I had done what I’m doing now 10 years ago.”
(Photo: Scottish Govt)
When the Integrating Trees Network was launched there was a fantastic response from the crofters too. The interest was so great that it soon became clear that there should be events run purely for crofters.
There have now been three such events – Tea and Trees for Crofters. The events were full of people, sharing their experiences and challenges of tree planting, asking advice and even highlighting how the trees can provide benefits to bullocks and bees.
1. The Integrating Trees Network website is packed full of useful information.
2. New simplified woodland creation guidance is now available.
3. Funding support through Scottish Forestry’s small woodland loan scheme.
4. Up to £1000 is available through FAS funding to get advice from a woodland consultant to help get you started.
5. If you are a tenant farmer, check our woodland creation case study that we have produced with the SFTA.