Irish Flora: Ireland’s Native Trees
Native Irish Trees
Despite being a small island Ireland has a very diverse ecosystem. Over 10,000 years ago Ireland was covered in ice and snow due to the ice age and was a barren wasteland. As the plant became warmer and the ice and snow melted away new plants and trees started to grow. These plants were brought here as seeds but not by people, but by animals and the wind. Seeds such as Oak, Ash and Hazel. Those seeds set the premise of what would soon be Ireland’s own unique environment. The ecosystem was then diversified even further with the arrival of people who had settled on the island and brought with them their own seeds such as Sycamore and Beech. These tree seeds brought to Ireland thousands of years ago are now what define the Irish ecosystem and are the face of native Irish Trees. Some species of native Irish trees are:
Alder Tree is a deciduous native tree used in plantations and also commonly used for protection from the weather in shelter belts. Alder have catkins which make them very attractive in late spring. Alder are a very fast growing tree that can thrive in wet conditions
Beech Trees (Fagus Sylvatica)
The beech tree is a tall and wide tree, so widespread in Ireland it is almost considered native. The mature tree size is anywhere from 90 to 100 feet tall, and spreads 50 to 70 feet. When mature the beech is very impressive, providing good overhead canopy and shelter. It can be used in woodland, parkland, or domestic gardens. The beech tree is deciduous, and goes through a full range of seasonal colour, and can retain some dead leaves throughout winter.
Birch (Betula Pendual)
This silver birch tree is a fast growing native tree. The birch is not a wide tree so does not encroach on its surroundings. The silver bark of the birch tree gives great winter colour, making it a popular choice for both amenity and commercial situations. Birch timber is commonly used in furniture making, and for firewood.
Oak (Querqus Robur)
The Oak Tree is native to Ireland. Oak trees are one of the most popular shade trees, and provide excellent habitat for wildlife. Oak are hardwood trees, and a mature oak may grow well over 200 years. Oaks are commonly used in native forestry plantations and their wood is very popular for furniture and flooring.
Cooper Beech (Fagus Sylvatica Atropurperea)
Copper Beech tree can be planted in domestic or parkland settings. Magnificent in May, its wine red leaves darken to purple-black in summer, and colour to glorious oranges and russets in autumn, and can retain some leaves during winter. It shares most of the characteristics of a green beech tree, except maybe a little slower growing. A very popular choice as it offers strong colour contrasts.
Lime (Tilia Cordata)
Lime Tree is a deciduous tree, and can make an excellent specimen or standalone tree, but is sometimes also planted in clumps in parkland settings. Like the alder tree, the lime tree can also tolerate tough sites and soil conditions. The lime tree is tall, with a narrow spread, making it popular for street planting.
Mountain Ash (Sorbus Aucuparia)
Mountain Ash Tree is a very hardy native tree that can tolerate tough conditions, such as drought or cold. Mountain Ash is used in native plantations and is popular for amenity use. Mountain Ash has a white flower but is mostly known for its large clusters of bright red berries in the autumn.
Sycamore (Acer Psuedopltanus)
The sycamore tree is a fast growing native tree used in both amenity planting and forestry plantations. Timber from the sycamore can be used for furniture making or firewood. The sycamore provides very good autumn colours, and also provides excellent habitat for wildlife.
Planting native Irish trees provides a number of benefits. They are more adapted to the Irish climate and environment. This means they require a lot less water. This turn saves time, money and most importantly, water! They also provide habitats for wildlife, especially birds.
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Native Irish Trees: https://hedging.ie/native-irish-trees2/