In the second of our RSPB blogs on junipers, Jo Chamberlain, Tree Nursery Officer for the Wild Haweswater project, explains how she uses Dalefoot Compost in her mission to propagate them. Juniper is one of our three native conifers, Yew and Scots Pine being the others, and the RSPB is working to restore juniper at Haweswater in the Lake District:
It can come as something of a surprise to learn that Juniperus communis, or common juniper, is an ancient, pioneering species that has been found in the British Isles for over ten thousand years. It was one of the first species to colonise after the end of the last ice age, but sadly, it is now amber-listed as a vulnerable, near-threatened species and no longer the common sight it was once was.
Thankfully, at RSPB Haweswater, we are lucky enough to retain mature stands of remnant juniper forest, providing a viable seed source that can be both encouraged to naturally regenerate in the landscape, and collected and cultivated in our peat-free Haweswater tree nursery. With the help of Dalefoot Composts, we have been able to successfully propagate thousands of young juniper trees, all grown from native seed collected on the fells around Haweswater. The open structure, nutrient balance and moisture-retaining properties of Dalefoot peat-free potting compost has proven a perfect mix for our young juniper trees.
Although notoriously slow to germinate and grow, we have found that many of our young trees will put on an impressive amount of summer growth if potted up into this compost early in the season. So much so, that our next challenge is to transport these larger saplings to higher altitude areas that will ultimately become their home. Being able to restore this species is an important aspect of strengthening ecological processes: providing habitat for a wide range of invertebrates, sequestering carbon, stabilising ground and maintaining an important connection with our natural as well as cultural heritage.
Home - Wild Haweswater
Why Use Peat Free Compost? Alternatives to Peat - The RSPB
Plantlife :: The Great English Juniper Revival?