Aspen Tree Day a Great Success!

9 March 2013

The Aspen Tree Day recently held by Eadha Enterprises at Lochwinnoch was a great success. 100 aspen trees were planted along by the River Calder by 22 eager volunteers of all ages despite the biting east wind. 

Aspen is very rare in Renfrewshire and all 5 surviving clones are located in very remote and inaccessible locations in the hills.  Consequently few local people have seen a native aspen tree.  This event helped to raise the profile of aspen and engage people with the LBAP with the creation of a sustainable population of aspen in a highly accessible and visual location.

A total of 9 clones from the West of Scotland were planted in discrete groups.  The trees grown by Eadha were robust 3-4 year old trees and were of a sufficient size that they did not require protection or staking allowing for a more naturalistic planting with minimal intrusion to the SSSI at Castle Semple. 

The extensive root systems of the trees should allow rapid establishment and will spread  laterally to provide ground stablisation benefits in the longer term.  The river banks are subject to erosion along this stretch of the Calder and subsidence at the site which is contributing to the problem of siltation in Castle Semple loch. 

In addition to tree tree planting aspen roots were also buried along the edge of the river bank.  This exploits aspen’s ability to grow suckers from its roots even once the roots has been removed from the host tree.  The roots should form a thicket of growth which will help to bind the loose alluvial soils and help to reduce bank erosion.

Aspen is a keystone riparian species but is currently missing from the riparian ecosystem in the valley and the planting will immediately improve the riparian habitat. 

The leaf fall from aspen will also benefit fish life as they break down at a different rate to other tree species, extending the period where food is available.  In addition, aspen is the key food of the beaver and Eadha is currently promoting the idea of beaver reintroduction in the Lochwinnoch Lochwinnoch area (see Lochwinnoch Beaver Project).  Expanding aspen riparian woodlands across Scotland is critical in advance of a national reintroduction.

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