BBC Countryfile Magazine
LET’S GO NATIVE
Having read your very interesting and informative November issue, I feel that I must point out that, on page 50 of the article entitled ‘How to reforest the UK’, the mention of sycamore as a sustainable species for the future is erroneous. Not only is sycamore non-native, but it is highly invasive, with its seeds becoming an ever-increasing problem – in gardens, parks and in the wild. There are better native examples to give as key trees for the future.
The mention of the wild service tree is timely; this is one of the trees that I planted in my large garden 22 years ago and it is very beautiful and interesting, indeed. Bedfordshire also has one of the oldest wild service trees in Maulden Great Wood – the tree even has its own signpost from the main thoroughfare through the wood, its own information board next to it, and a lovely bench to sit on underneath it!
The lime tree is also one I planted in my garden 22 years ago and it has the most beautiful yellow leaves in late autumn. When the sun shines through the leaves, it’s as though you have your own light-box display.
Finally, if you must have an acer to choose as a key tree for the future you cannot do better, in my opinion, than our own native field maple. They are hardy and grow into varied and interesting shapes, the golden-yellow leaves that they produce in autumn are second to none and they are truly magnificent and uplifting, as well as being worthy of growing for the exquisite and finely cut shape of their leaves alone.
Thanks for this fascinating insight. The mention of the sycamore was in relation to the loss of ash trees due to dieback. For many ecologists and arborists, the sycamore could occupy a similar ecological niche to the ash and so mitigate some of the heartbreaking losses.