oak seedling green lineOften small actions can make a difference when tackling climate change and sometimes it’s just a matter of seizing opportunities that present themselves. One such is the conundrum of what to do with influxes of tree seeds, such as acorns and beech nuts, during a mast year. Most town dwellers don’t have enough space for mature forest trees but they may still experience a rain of nuts falling on their gardens or allotments from trees in neighbouring gardens. According to the Woodland Trust, an oak can drop several hundred acorns in a single square metre, which certainly matched the experience of MCA member, Nigel Williams, who having wondered how best to deal with them in previous years decided in 2020 to overwinter his harvest of acorns in his greenhouse to give them a safe germination opportunity, away from predatory squirrels, mice and other such beasties.

Oaklets smCome the spring, he planted them up in ex-toilet roll cardboard tubes filled with his homemade compost. Lo and behold, young oak seedlings started to emerge. As a result, MCA has been able to launch a small oak-fostering scheme to bring on these seedlings, finding temporary carers until a suitable home can be found in either woodlands or large gardens in the locality. We offer these at our public events and participants sign up to the scheme and receive a certificate, so that we can keep in touch, find out how their foster oaks are doing and then find them a permanent home when they are ready – no penalties for those whose oaks fail to thrive, given their natural low survival rate. Those who already have enough land for mature forest trees are able to adopt the seedlings completely and some of our protégés have already found a home in an existing woodland. In addition to our fosterers, we are also building up our connections with landowners who can offer suitable space for them.

Anyone who is interested in participating, or maybe doing the same for beech mast, can contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..