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Gather seeds, fruits and nuts to grow local trees

Seed gathering season: 23 September – 23 October

Date issued: 16 September 2020

Colchester Borough Council is encouraging organisations, local communities and families to get out into their local woodlands this Autumn to gather seeds, fruits and nuts which they can nurture and grow to be the trees of the future – as part of the Colchester Woodland Project and the Tree Council’s annual Seed Gathering campaign.

Now in its 21st year, the Tree Council’s Seed Gathering campaign runs from 23 September – 23 October; the Autumn Equinox, when seeds are at their ripest and ready to be planted. 

Growing trees from local seeds can have lots of benefits. Growing trees from seeds near to where they have been collected will ensure that the new trees are better adapted to the local environment, they are then more likely to flourish, helping restore, conserve and make our local areas beautiful. In addition, trees grown in their local environments are most likely to survive and grow well. But, also, collecting seeds and growing trees is a great way to get children involved and to start growing our next generation of tree enthusiasts too.

Seeds can be collected from many different types of plants and trees, including shrubs, vegetables, herbs and trees. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Try and collect your seeds when the weather is dry
  • The strongest seeds come from healthy and well-established plants
  • You need to make sure the seeds are ripe (usually the seed will have changed from green to brown and are ready to be released from the plant)
  • Label your seeds with the plant name and ideally where you found it - if you are not sure take a photo of the seed and the leaf from the tree!
Before you start picking:
  • Make sure you know what you are picking and supervise children – some plants are poisonous
  • Try not to damage the plants – we want to be able to pick from them next year
  • Avoid collecting from private properties or from busy roads and industrial estates

The Woodland Trust website has lots of advice on what to do with your seeds next, so you can grow a tree: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/advice/grow-from-seed/.

If you need some help, seed gathering packs will also be available from High Woods Country Park Visitor Centre for just £1 per pack. They will be available when the centre is open from 20 September to 19 October. Packs will provide the information you need, a tree trail map and paper bags for collecting your seeds in.

Cllr David King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, said: “The very heart of the Colchester Woodland Project is to encourage our community to love and care for our environment, from wildflowers and meadows, to our woods and parks, old or new. Going for an Autumn walk and gathering seeds is a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family, and the benefits it can provide to helping our environment thrive are simply huge. I’d encourage everyone to get involved – let’s work together to make a better, greener Colchester.”

So, this autumn why not go for a walk, collect and grow your seeds, plant them to grow and then come and plant your tree as part of the Colchester Woodland Project in the future!

You can find out more about the Colchester Woodland Project at www.colchester.gov.uk/better-colchester.

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