Native Trees are the best trees to grow in Ireland because they are used to the Irish conditions.
You can choose from different varieties of trees, either deciduous or evergreen. Deciduous trees can be more beneficial to wildlife.
Also your location and the position of the site you want to plant will help determine what type of tree you can use.
Here is my list of the best trees to grow in Ireland
Alder is a fast growing native tree that works very well for planting in wet conditions.
Its round leaves provide excellent shelter in the summer months and the whippy stems break the wind by about 50% in the winter months providing all year round shelter. It also provides an excellent habitat for birds and wildlife for shelter nesting etc.
The catkins on the end of the stems provide food also. Alder roots do not cause problems as they are not intrusive like some of the other native trees. Alder timber can be used in furniture making or for firewood. Growth rate is between 2-4 feet annually.
Birch (Betula Pendula)
Birch is a slight erect framed tree with light stems and relatively small leaves. There are two types of native birch mainly found in Ireland. Silver Birch and the Downy Birch.
The downy Birch is the mast commonly found one as it tolerated poor soil conditions and also wet soil conditions, The Silver birch needs relatively good drainage.
Its root system is not intrusive so therefore ic can be planted relatively close to developments etc. Its catkins contain seed which can be eaten by birds and wildlife in the winter months. Silver birch is often used in gardens because of the striking colour from is silver bark in the winter months. Growth rate is between 1-2 feet per year.
Mountain Ash (Sorbus Aucuparia)
The Mountain Ash tree or more commonly known in Ireland as the rowan tree is widely seen around the Irish countryside. Like the birch it too grows in an upright manner and doesn’t encroach on neighbouring developments etc.
It is often seen on hill sides as it will tolerate poor soil conditions. Its creamy white flowers turn to bright red berries in the autumn therefore providing lots of food for the birds. The leaves turn yellow and red in the autumn therefore giving it great autumn colour.
Like the silver Birch it is often used in gardens due to its compact growing nature. Growth rate is between 9 inches to 1ft per year.
Scots pine (Pinus Sylvestris)
Scots pine is a native evergreen tree that is normally grown for its timber but can work quite well as a shelter tree. They are normally mixed in a shelter block with other deciduous shelter belt trees rather than used as a shelter belt. They grow at a fairly fast growth rate therefore providing excellent evergreen shelter. It also provides visual shelter. Growth rate 2-3ft per year.
Oak (Querqus Robur)
Oak is probably the most commonly known native tree as at one time Ireland was covered in Oak. But due to lifetimes of harvesting there are very few natural Oak woods left. The one in Coolatin Co. Wicklow is the one known most to me.. There the sturdy structured majestic native oak trees stand there having being growing for hundreds of years. Oak timber can be used in a wide variety of applications including furniture and kitchen making. The Oak fruit is called the acorn but does not come every year. Growth rate is 1ft per year.
These trees can be also very beneficial to wild life. Birds, Mammals and insects can benefit greatly from trees in plantations, hedgerows. Parklands, commercial developments and gardens etc… They can provide food and shelter all year round while also providing shelter to the local environment.