We are delighted to announce that The Grower has won a brand new category for 2023 in the Cornwall Sustainability Awards – ‘Growing Greener – Planting Trees in Cornwall’. This category, sponsored by Forest for Cornwall, Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust, celebrates a county-wide commitment to planting new trees.
The Grower was up against stiff competition, with Arbor Farm the runner up, Bolghen Tree Nursery CIC highly commended, and Gaia Trust CIO receiving a special commendation. We'd like to extend our congratulations to those organisations, as we recognise that planting trees in Cornwall is important.
The Cornwall Sustainability Awards have been running for over 20 years, and are acknowledged as ‘the prize to win’ in the world of environmentally friendly business. The organisers have been pioneering the celebration of all things green, developing the awards to reflect the changing landscape of business, as well as innovations in the sector, such as an increased national focus on tree planting. For The Grower to have won the first Growing Greener award is huge, for us, as we're still a new business. This recognition will help cement our reputation in our sector, as a pioneer of sustainable planting practices, so we are very grateful to the Cornwall Sustainability Awards team and judges for their support.
Our winning application
Our nomination form for the awards explained not only what the business does, but also how we are unique. We are the South West’s largest grower of bareroot hedging and trees, having grown two million trees this year. And our environmental diversification programme on our farm is pioneering, on a farm this size.
The three main strands of our application were our commitment to regenerative agriculture in our tree-growing operation, our knowledge base, helping ensure that customers’ trees thrive, once we have handed them over, and our ‘practice what we preach’ approach to nature recovery on our own farm.
The trees we grow are exported across the country, to the landscape, forestry, and agricultural markets, and include field maple, sycamore, beech, blackthorn, wild plum, oak, Scots pine and many others. We are proud members of CONFOR (confederation of Forestry Industries) and FWAG (Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group) as well as corporate sponsors of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust; whilst also Woodland Trust UKISG (UK and Ireland Sourced and Grown) accredited. We also recently announced our Plant Healthy accreditation, the first in Cornwall.
In Cornwall we have planted 48,656 trees, since 2021, including landscape mitigation for a solar park, broadleaf replanting on a Larch plantation which had succumbed to Phytophthora, and mixed woodland planting on an ex open cast mine and landfill site as part of wider landscape recovery.
The industry standard for any tree planting scheme is to expect a 40% loss of trees, but The Grower’s team aims to turn up on site with all the trees, sundries and experience required to ensure that planting scheme survives. We use experienced labour, and have a survival rate between 85% and 95%, meaning that the customers’ trees thrive, there is less wastage, and successful planting schemes are flourishing more quickly, with less need to go back and fill in gaps.
Practicing what we preach
On our home farm, our key aims are to create new areas of habitat, connect existing habitats, enhance water conveyance, improve soil health, increase carbon sequestration, and improve ecosystem services. We are achieving this by planting new areas of woodland, restoring existing hedgerow corridors, planting new hedgerows, planting field corners up with trees, and developing an agroforestry silvo-arable trial. So far, we have planted 4,665 trees on our farm, with more planned, and focussed on projects close to and along Public Rights of Ways on the farm. This is specifically to improve the immediate environment for the local community by increasing access to nature, improving air quality, landscape quality and water conveyance along these local routes.
There were several case studies presented alongside the Award application, and these will be being added to the website in due course, to encourage other landowners to explore options for planting trees on their land, to enhance and protect their local environments.
Please do get in touch for more information.