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Meelin, Clare, Tallow and Dublin, we are sowing acorns anywhere we can.

[Author: Roisin Byrne, voluntary consultant landscape architect and woodland + nature reserves coordinator for GreenFriends Ireland]

We were on our way into Citywest Hotel Saturday 1st of October, to meet with other volunteers to prepare for Amma’s visit on the 14-15th of October when Noah spotted a mass of acorns under the oak trees. We couldn’t stop right then but as the day went by, we swapped stories with some of the many volunteers of their acorn adventures. To store or sow straight away? How to store? Spacing? Soil? How to transplant? Animals misgive? Frost?

We did sow 160 acorns on 24th of September on the Meelin woodlands and nature reserve. These acorns were selected from just under 200 which we, 6 children and 3 moms, had collected the week before from Tomnafinnoge wood near Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, a beautiful native woodland. [http://tinahely.ie/walking/tomnafinnoge-woods/] We planted these at in a 4-foot turned over bed, a hand span apart. It took three of us just about an hour to turn the bed and 15 minutes to sow the acorns. Many hands make light work, and its more fun too. planting-acorns-in-meelin. The day after that sowing we visited Irelands very first Greenfriend’s woodland, in Corofin, planted 7 years ago. John Fisher, guardian of the woodland said ‘the woodland wouldn’t of happened without the Greenfriends volunteers’ and now the trees are 4-5 meters high, with many the oak among them. john-paddy-noah-in-clare John Fisher, guardian of the Corofin woodland has much experiential based advice for us on our acorn-planting quest. He himself had guerrilla planted oaks in Bristol planting 3 at a time saplings, which had grown from oaks he had sown. He marked where he had planted these on a book. He had been inspired he said by the animation The Man Who Planted Trees https://youtu.be/KTvYh8ar3tc.

Coincidentally Paddy McMahan, guardian of the Meelin woodlands and nature reserve had show us this same video just the day before to inspire us as we were about to plant our acorns.

John and I agree its best to plant straight away where possible. John pointed out its not necessary to be very fussy about spacing, or how much cover the acorns need, these are hardy things. Acorns produce a taproot and so when they emerge, and are ready to transplant that taproot can be cut a little to encourage a more fibrous root ball. Close spacing will encourage to trees to grow upwards too. If storing the acorns should not be allowed to be too moist, or they will rot, nor dry too much that they lose their vitality. Storing in a hessian sac is recommended.

Back in Citywest, Gordan is telling of how some animal wiped out his acorns which he had transplanted after they had germinated. He had found out its a good idea to let the acorns dry on perorated trays in a location where lots of fresh air can move very freely. He just happened to have a nice big bag so we went out to gather acorns, collecting off the paths, discarding the many nibbled ones to gather about 300 or so. Sue and Eefja will plant their 60 or so straightaway when they get to Tallow and Clare. The rest will be carefully stored to prepare them to return to the Greenfriends table at Citywest on the 14th. We’d love to see you there and hear your acorn stories! We all have some knowledge and it’s so nice to share stories of our endeavours to plant trees, after all many hands make light work, and its more fun too.

sue-and-eefje-with-their-acorns

If you’d like to work together with us, we would be delighted [link]

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