The Devon Whitebeam tree is endangered and we are working hard to change this situation by creating a Community Tree Nursery that will be able to grow 200 Devon Whitebeams a year from seed. In addition, by creating a propagation facility on East-the-Water in Bloom's Allotment we will also be able to test various vegetative propagation techniques to boost the availability of a species of tree that used to be endemic to the South West, but is now constrained mainly to the Torridge Estuary in Northern Devon.
Thankfully, we have received pledges of support and already raised £3,500 towards the project and so we are only looking to raise a further £1,500 to add rainwater storage and solar power to our nursery site. As our site has neither mains electirc or mains water supply we need to ensure we have enough power to operate a small mist propagator over 2 sqr metres of plunge propagation benching. To ensure an even growing temperature we would also like to add a soil warming cable to protect the young seedlings from variations in temperature that might stall growth of the young plants.
We also need to increase our storage capacity for rainwater so that any Spring dry periods don't cause our propagation system to run dry. Small plants are particularly vulnerable to variations in moisture and drying out can easily kill off the young plants. So we want to be able to collect all the winter rains from our shed roof and we can keep our system going even during a dry warm Spring.
The first batch of 200 Devon Whitebeam Seedlings are planned to form part of a new area of Broadleaf woodland planted on National Trust land in Abbotsham, Devon. The Devon Whitebeam along with 600 other native trees will cover nearly an acre of grassland planted in the Winter of 2022/23 that will help trap Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere and lock it away, providing important time to solve the Climate Crisis that we all face.
Bideford Town Council has also committed to plant Devon Whitebeam in the Community Woodland of Ford Wood, which will help preserve this species as well as providing important opportunities to observe and improve understanding around conservation efforts. We are very grateful for the Town Council's support as well as the funding pledged by Devon County Councillor Grant and Northern Devon Coastline AONB for this project to make a real difference to efforts to return the Devon Whitebeam to its place in the hedgerows and woodlands of Devon and the wider South West area.