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The 2016 Garden Tree Give Away!

Applications for the Free Tree Scheme 2016 closed on Monday 24 October 2016 at 5pm.

Crab Apple, Cherry Plum, Hazel and Elderberry trees

This year’s species are Crab Apple, Cherry Plum, Hazel and Elderberry.

Our free tree scheme is run in partnership with the National Forest Company, and the neighbouring authorities of North West Leicestershire District Council and East Staffordshire Borough Council

All the trees are two years old and approximately 30cms to 60cms (up to two feet) high. Information on how to plant and to look after them is attached to this page.

Our ‘giveaway’ dates are Thursday 24 November and Saturday 26 November 2016 from 10am to 2pm at venues in South Derbyshire. You can choose whichever you prefer.

Trees will only be available on these dates, so please check you are available on one of those dates or find someone to collect on your behalf before you apply.

We will email or write to applicants with confirmation details and the collection arrangements at the end of October or the start of November.

We have been running the scheme for many years and we would love to see any photos you have of trees you have planted in previous years. Please upload your photos to our Environmental Education Project at Rosliston Forestry Centre Facebook page or Tweet them to @RoslistonEnvEd

This year's trees

Crab Apple, Malus sylvestris

The crab apple is a beautiful medium sized deciduous tree that grows to a height of around five metres. White flowers open in clusters during April and May, followed by small hard edible fruits during autumn. The apples are too sour to eat raw, but they can be made into jelly or added to other fruit when jam-making to improve the ‘set’. It is a good tree for wildlife, as bees and other insects visit the flowers and birds and small mammals will eat the fruit.

Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera

The cherry plum is one of the first trees to flower, in mid February. The flowers are white, with five petals. The fruit is 2cm to 3cm in diameter and yellow or red, reaching maturity from mid-August to mid-September. It may be eaten fresh in some forms. Some say it is sweet but others argue that it is sour! It is excellent for jam making.

It produces root suckers so may become a ‘thicket’ of trees rather than a single tree (a bit like lilac). Young trees are often used as understocks (a root on to which another plant is grafted) for domestic plums.

Hazel, Corylus avellana

A small, fast growing, native, deciduous tree, that will grow to around six metres tall. It has edible nuts in autumn and bright yellow lambs tail catkins in February which provide essential early pollen for bees. A hazel tree can be coppiced to produce straight stakes for hedge laying and runner bean poles, but also makes a lovely small tree if left to grow.

Elderberry, Sambucus nigra

The elderberry is a fast growing native deciduous shrub with graceful fern- like perfumed foliage, and upright stems with fine green leaves. It produces clusters of creamy white flower in June and July, followed by large bunches of shiny black elder-berries, which are high in Vitamin C. Both the flowers and ripe berries are used in cordial and wine making, but avoid the unripe berries as these are poisonous.

Twigs are popular for DIY whistle making as the white pith can be pushed out to make a hollow tube.

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