In bloom: Deirdre O’Brien, Clareview sent in this gorgeous picture from Lansdowne Park, which shows the beauty of the changing seasons. This cherry blossom is between 40 to 50 years old
National tree week, which runs this week from March 31 until April 7, was first launched in 1985 by the Tree Council of Ireland.
The idea behind the week is to create awareness around trees and to explain the benefits they can offer each and every one of us. Trees benefit us in many ways. Trees have been planted to provide shelter and privacy. Tress have been planted to provide fuel and heat for our homes.
However, trees also help to enhance our gardens and our lives. There is a tree for every person and for every garden. That is why it is surprising to discover that Ireland’s tree coverage is currently the lowest in Europe at 11%. The average tree coverage throughout the European Union is 37%. This figure is changing and we in Ireland are planting more trees each year. We need to continue with our good efforts. Don’t forget that even with a small garden we can all play out part. Here are just some facts about our best-known trees.
Oaks are sometimes described as a heritage tree. This means that they are prized and are long- lived. Oak trees are recognised by having acorns. However, an oak tree only gets acorns after around 20 years of growth. An oak tree can live for hundreds of years. It has been prized throughout history for its strong and durable timber. One type of oak tree, the Cork oak, is actually the tree that gives us cork for our wine and Champagne bottles. The bark of the tree is removed in strips so as not to permanently damage the tree. This removed bark is then simply cut into shape.
Cherry blossoms are principally grown for their flowers. You may see many cherry blossoms in flower at the moment. When in flower they do look fantastic even though the flowers last for only a few weeks. There are literally hundreds of different types of cherry blossoms, each with their own special feature. One thing I have discovered is that the wood from Cherry is extremely close-grained. This means the timber is strong but makes bad fire wood.
It is actually an offence to sell ash trees at the moment. This is an effort to try and prevent the spread of ash die-back disease. This disease has wiped out some ash plantations and has no cure. At the moment the disease is limited to some woods. The risk, and the worry, is that the disease will move into our hedgerows and spread. An important fact to remember about tree disease is that Dutch elm disease ultimately killed 10 million elm trees in the UK and Ireland. It started in the 1970s and is still killing trees today- as is evident in a hedgerow in my own garden.
Limerick Flower and Garden Club are hosting a talk on Tuesday, April 9 at 8pm. The talk will be given by Conal Moloney, Ardnacrusha Garden Centre. The talk takes place in The Greenhills Hotel.