What’s going on at Barcham?

Many of you may already be aware or maybe you have seen the work going on as you pass us on the A142 in Ely.

We’re developing a 16 acre showcase garden with a range of our stock and the photo below is a concept drawing of what we hope to achieve 🤞

Our aim is to not only help give you a better idea of what our stock can look like as it matures, but to also show you some of the different kind of purposes the trees can be used for. Right tree, right place! 🌳

The area will also consist of a new lake, a large play area and a retail shop with a café 😊

We’d love to bring you on this journey with us from the beginning and hopefully see you all there on our opening day! We will be posting regular updates and more information on how our new project develops.

So be sure to follow us on our social media platforms to keep up with the progress!

Twitter: @Barchamtrees
Facebook: Barcham Trees
Instagram: barchamtreesplc
LinkedIn: Barcham Trees PLC

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Queen’s Green Canopy is launched this week!

The aim of The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is to thank Her Majesty The Queen for her exceptional service, celebrate her Platinum Jubilee and promote the importance of trees to the environment, through the encouragement of tree planting and tree conservation across the nation.

The potential legacy for the Queen’s Green Canopy tree planting within the UK is enormous and it is vital that trees are planted correctly and maintained with mulch and watered for up to 24 months after planting to give trees the best possible start.

If you want to take part in this scheme and plant trees for your local community, feel free to get in contact with us for advice and suggestions.

Right tree, Right place!

 

 

 

 

 

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Our unique range of organic products!

With the clocks going forward it feels like the true start of Spring when all the trees at Barcham start coming into life after their winter hibernation. At this time within the production department, we start thinking about our Summer Spray Program and what we are spraying and when. Over the past few years, we have started to move away from chemical control of pest and disease to a more organic approach that works in harmony with the plants natural immunity. Think of it as similar to us taking vitamins to help prevent the onset of potential problems in the future. These products in simple terms enhance the plants natural processes to limit susceptibility to Pest and Disease.

Over the past 8 years, we have been working with a company called Engage who have developed a unique range of organic products mainly for Agriculture initially, and then being used by us in the horticultural industry. We have now been using this range of products for many years with great success to protect our trees against various Pests and Diseases and aid in the rooting of new crops. The fantastic news for Spring 2021 is that this unique range is now available from Barcham for you to use at home.

The products that are available on the accessories section of our web site are the ones which we regularly use in our spray programmes throughout the summer.

Fortify

Fortify is a foliarly applied organic blend of nutrients and plant extracts which limits the plants susceptibility to infection and strengthens its cells. We use this in the prevention of Scabs and Mildews.

Sentinel

Sentinel is a unique silicon nutrient spray which, when foliarly applied, supports growth and health of the plant. This product thickens the leaf cuticle and increases the hairs on the leaf surface, which in turn makes the plant less palatable to feeding insects. The other positive use of this product is that it works great against predation from slugs and snails. Great for your Hostas.

Initiate

Initiate is the most amazing product, which we use, to help rooting within both our field grown and container grown trees. It is a blend of concentrated pine sap modified using fungi to pass on all the natural benefits of the sap to stimulate root growth. This is why it is an excellent product to help with the establishment of your new Barcham Tree. We apply this product through our irrigation system early on in the season to help the rooting process. Using Initiate alongside our white pot system creates a fantastic root system which in turn aids establishment later on.

Invigorate

Invigorate is a super concentrated liquid feed an organic bio-pack which supplies all the nutritional requirements a plant will need. Although our compost contains a 16-18month controlled release fertiliser sometimes we need to give a crop a boost and this is where Invigorate comes in. It can be applied as a foliar spray or as a liquid and is particular good at boosting colour in evergreens when applied as a drench.

The use of all the products above within our own Spray programmes at Barcham have enabled us over the years to produce consistently healthy, quality tree crops and we hope this little bit of new technology can now do the same for you at home.

 

Written by Warren Holmes-Chatfield, Operations Director.

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What is the carbon consequence of not looking after trees?

Now that we have worked out how much carbon can be stored in our trees we can extrapolate further and have calculated that our tree supply every year has the ability to store at least 260,000 tonnes of dry weight carbon over their lifetimes.

Since Barcham Trees was founded about 30 years ago this figure is nearer 6 million tonnes of stored dry weight carbon.

With this in mind it becomes more important to maintain newly planted trees to secure their well-being (spring/summer watering and mulch is critical) and to protect established trees in the landscape. Once a tree is felled, all of its stored carbon will be released back into the atmosphere in fairly short order, unless the timber is preserved for building works or furniture etc.
We should try and develop a culture of protecting trees and the soil structures that support them. Felling trees should be considered as a matter of last resort and reparation should be made by planting others if this last resort comes into play.

It would be great if people view mature trees as 10 tonne carbon storage assets rather than dispose of them without a thought of the consequences. If a perfectly healthy tree is removed for self-interested reasons alone then the landowner will be directly responsible for releasing all that carbon back into our atmosphere which is already way out of balance.

10 tonne Carbon Storage Asset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Mike Glover, Managing Director.

 

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How to offset your CO2 emissions

Offset your CO2 emissions using our carbon calculator in conjunction with our tree carbon storage data!

Now that we have rated our trees with their carbon scores, showing how much carbon they store in their lifetime, we have added a carbon calculator to our website. You can single out a car journey, holiday or even your day to day activities to work out your carbon footprint and see how trees can offset your carbon usage. You can find our carbon calculator tab in the middle of the main navigation bar towards the top of the page. When on the home page, a drop down menu will also appear to navigate you towards an explanation of ‘The Barcham Eco Tree Tag‘ and our ‘Top Trunks Guide‘.

We are the first nursery to commission and publish data to work out how many trees need to be planted to offset carbon dioxide emissions. We have included an easy ‘at a glance’ Top Trunks Guide so you can see how much carbon storage your chosen varieties contribute.

Every tree planted is a credit to the environment. During the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen and in the process store carbon to form the basis of their structures. The Animal Kingdom does the opposite with our species taking emissions to heightened levels on the back of our technologies. The balance between Plants and Animals is now skewed and planting trees is the only way we know of to help redress this imbalance.

 

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Carbon storage ratings are now uploaded against each of our tree listings

Further to our blog last month we are pleased to announce that all of our trees now have their carbon storage rating certificates available to view.

If you would like to see these, when you are viewing a specific tree please scroll through the photos on the main image window to get to its carbon rating score.

It’s just as important to pick a tree to suit its location than to select a tree just on its environmental performance. If a tree is selected that is not compatible with its surroundings then its environmental attributes can never be met!
For example, we have seen an advert doing the rounds suggesting that planting a Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant Redwood) is the answer to carbon offsetting. It is true that this tree is a massive hitter in terms of carbon storage and lives to over 3,000 years, but it isn’t the solution to plant in most of our back gardens!
An important factor in choosing a tree is to make sure it can thrive unmolested through to maturity so picking a tree that doesn’t outgrow its space is key. Also, Giant Redwoods are great trees and certainly have their place in the planting mix but they don’t support much of our wildlife that is more dependent on a wider and more diverse range of trees for their foraging year.

Tree diversity is another important consideration as if we all plant the same variety then we are creating a large concentration for a host specific pest or disease to exploit. Dutch Elm disease, Ash Die Back and Oak Processionary Moth have shown us this in the past.

With all this in mind, once you have honed in on the right mix of varieties for your location, you can now select the best trees for carbon storage as well. Every tree is a contributor to lock up carbon within their structures, converting environmentally damaging carbon dioxide that our species is so harmfully emitting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Mike Glover, Managing Director.

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Are supersized nursery trees environmentally beneficial?

Over recent decades, there has been a great emphasis on a ‘day one’ instant impact look with the size of tree grown and dispatched going off the charts. Some trees are so big that only one or two fit on a 40-foot articulated lorry that travels thousands of miles from continental Europe to reach their new homes. There is little or no environmental gain in these.

The trouble is that this obsession for size has been transposed across all genera. It’s fair enough to buy a tree at semi mature sizes if they go on to live for at least two centuries but what’s the point of buying semi mature Malus (Apple) or Prunus (Cherry) as these only live for about 70 years in the first place. In environmental terms it is like starting to invest in a new Olympic athlete when they turn 40. What is more, a short lived tree planted at a huge size has lost its juvenile vigour and reacts very poorly to this process giving the end user a miserable result rather than the utopian day one orchard they had been promised and imagined.

A tree supplied at an age too old and too large to make an environmental contribution does not make sense. We do not see the point in planting a short lived tree, that has a life expectancy of under 100 years, at much over 16-18cm girth, our ‘large’ size. By then it is only about 10 years old, so you still have 90 years’ worth of environmental contribution to gain. Better still, buy these from a nursery who has grown them from scratch rather than an imported tree with a hefty carbon footprint already attached.
For longer lived trees, there is a good case for planting at semi mature girth, our ‘instant’ size, but surely in the times we face with our environment at such a knife edge, not at the super-sized girths of 35cm and 40cm+ girth that need large carbon guzzling machinery to transport and plant them, negating their environmental worth from the start.

We have followed the trend of producing bigger and bigger trees but when you see one specimen tree being loaded by a three tonne diesel belching telehandler, with the tree taking up all the room on the 40 foot articulated lorry, it just doesn’t make sense! Trees should be contributing to the environment, not working against it.

With this in mind we are phasing out our production of our larger sized trees. No trees will be potted into our 750lt, 1000lt, 1750lt and 3000lt pots this potting season for future availability. We are going to limit our sizing to 25-30cm girth for ‘A’ rated eco trees that have a lifespan of centuries and 16-18cm for shorter lived ‘C’ rated trees. Our maximum pot size will reduce to 500litre, with the majority of our stock being in 35litre to 100litre sizes. On the other end of the scale we are also introducing a new range of 3,000 UK providence trees in 20litre that will be 2.25-2.75m tall by September.

We have modelled our trees not only to measure their carbon storage potential but also their breakeven point of when they start to positively contribute to the environment, after our production and delivery processes have been accounted for. This has given us renewed focus to produce and sell a diverse range of trees that offer the greatest environmental benefit.

Written by Mike Glover, Managing Director.

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How much carbon is stored in trees?

Well, pretty soon Barcham will let you know how much carbon each of our tree varieties will store in their lifetimes. We are giving our trees an A to E environmental rating and installing a carbon calculator within this site so you can work out how much carbon you consume versus how many trees you need to offset.

Take the much maligned Sycamore for example. Regarded by many as a weed, it is one of the best trees for carbon capture and ranks as an ‘A rater’ in our table. We have modelled data in partnership with Treeconomics in Exeter and have used measurements from thousands of trees using a tool called ‘I Tree’.

Fuller explanation will come shortly in subsequent blogs but in the meantime please see an example of one of our product tags below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, not all of us have the room to plant a sycamore in our gardens but every tree is a contributor for storing carbon so it’s important to focus on putting the right tree in the right place so it can be left to fulfil its potential.

It is estimated that a mature tree like this will have stored up to 20 tonnes of dry weight carbon within its lifetime:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s so important to protect our trees as felling them for development releases their stored carbon back into the atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More to follow over the coming weeks!

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Barcham Trees awarded ‘Plant Healthy’ certification!

At last biosecurity is beginning to gain traction and industry practices are gradually changing. Take Olive for example, such a glorious tree, unrivalled in what it does aesthetically and so beautiful in structure. However, with the arrival of the plant disease Xylella Fastidiosa into Southern Italy in 2013, the Olive population in this part of Europe was decimated and the production of Olive Oil supporting thousands of families was lost. A lot of tree diseases are genus specific like Ash Die back, but the thing about Xylella is that it also wipes out numerous other genera and particularly favours Laurus nobilis (Bay), Prunus dulcis (Almond), Quercus suber (Cork Oak), as well as the mainstream shrubs Lavender and Rosemary. We took the decision to stop growing and selling these varieties in 2015, not wanting to risk the UK treescape and our own production for short term commercial gain.

Xylella Fastidiosa has now been spread to Germany, France, Portugal and Spain but thankfully there has been no recorded case in the UK,….yet.

There are still many plant brokers importing Olives into the UK, at great risk to our environment, driven on by demand from specifiers and individuals who have no idea of the catastrophe that could so easily result. I am pleased to say that DEFRA is getting a grip on this and making it a lot harder for Olives to come into the country but we will rest easier when they are prohibited for good, along with the other host plants that Xylella fastidiosa favours.

The need for strict biosecurity is so important for the health of our nation’s trees. This is why the new kite mark scheme ‘Plant Healthy’ has been launched in the UK, auditing nurseries to make sure they have strict biosecurity procedures in place. We were certified onto this scheme in November 2020. Unfortunately this doesn’t stop poorly judged imports via ‘white van man’ into town markets every week up and down the UK but DEFRA has these traders on its radar and will hopefully put in legislation to get all to comply with stricter biosecurity standards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Barcham, we do not trade any plants for immediate resale. All of our saleable stock is vitality checked and passed as healthy by DEFRA before they are released onto the market each September, having been grown here at Barcham. Many of our trees are started from UK provenance seedlings and raised in our triple span polytunnel before being planted out in our field unit to grow on to harvest size. They are then lifted and containerized into our patented Light Pots to ready them for sale.

With the threat of multiple pest and diseases being imported into the UK by traded trees, it becomes more important to devise planting plans that offer a defense against host specific problems. Oak Processionary Moth, Ash Die Back and Dutch Elm Disease are good examples of how a single variety can all get wiped out by one event. Genus diversity is the key to future proofing your planting. If one genus accounts for only 10% of your arrangement you are limiting your exposure to total losses further on down the line.

Ironically, the need for greater genus diversity puts pressure on demand and triggers more imports but if you go with a nursery with certified ‘Plant Healthy’ status you will be on the right side of things. The incidence of importing a problem goes away if you buy from UK nurseries who have grown their plants rather than brokered them. Always good to ask!

For more information on the ‘Plant Healthy’ scheme, please visit their website – https://planthealthy.org.uk/

 

 

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