What alternative tree species can we grow in western Britain? 85 years of evidence from the Kilmun Forest Garden
Nearly 300 tree species have been planted at Kilmun Forest Garden in Argyll since 1930, mostly in small plots allowing the collective performance of an individual species to be evaluated.
Results from the mid-1990s showed that about 60 species had formed productive closed canopy stands, with a number of conifers all showing health and potential productivity equivalent to that of Sitka spruce, the major species grown in the forests of western Britain.
Since 2000, there has been increased interest in the collection at Kilmun, partly because it allows the comparison of long-term growth of a wide range of species at a time when species diversification is being encouraged as a means of adapting forests to climate change. Accordingly, existing plots have been remeasured, some have been sampled for their timber properties and a number of new plots have been established. There are now around 200 different species in the collection, of which 145 are in good health. Growth measurements show the continuing good performance of about 18 conifer and broadleaved species at between 45 and 85 years of age: these species would be prime candidates for use in diversifying spruce dominated planted forests in western Britain.
Ref : Mason WL et al 2018. What alternative tree species can we grow in western Britain? 85 years of evidence from the Kilmun Forest Garden
W.L. Mason*, F. MacDonald, M. Parratt and J.P. McLean, SCOTTISH FORESTRY, Volume 72 No. 1 Spring/Summer 2018