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Carpinus betulas

24th May, 2023

How hornbeams cope with changing climate

We were delighted to read on the BBC how native hornbeams will be used in the National Trust’s recently unveiled plans to protect Welsh woodlands by creating Celtic rainforests.

The forests will be planted with native species including hornbeams and rare and endangered trees, such as the black poplar.

Great at adapting

They will be grown using Welsh seeds so they can adapt to their environment and the changing climate.

As it’s great at adapting to different weather conditions, the hornbeam will feature in the project and, to add to this, they are brilliant planet protectors, so we should all be planting more.

What are Celtic rainforests?

Celtic rainforests, also known as temperate forests or Atlantic forests, are usually close to the sea and have high humidity and stable temperatures.

They are very rare and are thought currently to cover less than 1% of Britain. They have reduced in size because of climate change, pollution and deforestation.

Cope with temperatures

The National Trust plans to take tree seeds from these Celtic rainforests and grow them in a safe nursery environment in Snowdonia.

As the area heats up, due to climate change, the hornbeam tree should cope well with the new temperatures and can be used as standalone specimen trees, for mixed woodland or for hedging.

Provide habitats

Hornbeams can also help provide invaluable habitats for liverworts, fungi and beetles.

Many of these species have had their homes destroyed thanks to ash dieback, which is one of the invasive diseases to have taken hold in the Celtic rainforests and in other woodlands and hedgerows.

The National Trust’s project’s aim is to protect Celtic rainforests and help them recover.

20 million trees by 2030

The team plans to grow 30,000 trees each year in the Snowdonian nursery. With other sites doing the same, they hope to produce 20 million trees by 2030.

They, including the humble hornbeam, will be planted in locations allowing them to safely grow and ensure the nation’s woodland health is future proofed.

How to order hornbeams from us

If you’re working on a commercial woodland, parkland or landscaping project and are keen to add hornbeams or you’re a garden centre wishing to offer your customers a tree that can withstand the environmental changes we’re facing, then please get in touch