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Help with Arboretum

Hi.  I wondered if anyone had any good contacts or references for how to go about building an arboretum please?  We have about 12 acres in North Yorkshire that we would love to turn into a local arboretum.  I'm a competent / average gardener and love trees; have some ideas about what we would like to do, but could definitely benefit from some advice!  Many thanks, Richard


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,436
    Hello Richard  :)
    It may be worth contacting the RHS, possibly at Harlow Carr which l would imagine is the nearest garden to you.
  • Thank you - yes, will make contact
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,150
    As with any garden planning it will depend on the type of soil you have - its depth, texture, fertility, drainage, acidity or alkalinity - and then how exposed you are to heat, frost, winds and rain.  Your budget and timescale will have an effect too on what you choose.

    Once you know those you can narrow down the kinds of tree that will grow well there and also decide if you want a broad selection or maybe a collection of particular types or even a national collection of one genus.  A good plan would be to visit arboreta and large gardens near you to see how they have chosen and grouped their trees and what, if anything, they have in the understorey to add interest and wildlife habitat too.

    If you are a member of the RHS you can get free ad vice from their experts.  If you're not, I'd advise joining and then taking advantage - after Covid - of being able to visit all their big gardens plus many partner gardens for free as well as a monthly magazine and free access to experts for advice on soil analysis and management plus how and when and what to plant in your area.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    edited November 2020
    decide what type of trees you want to do, conifer or broad leaf or both,
    you can split them into European, American, Asian, Australian species
    or into family groups - the oaks, the ashes, the walnuts, the birches etc.
    you could have an area for autumn colour, or for fruits, or for flowering trees.
    but before you do that look at your climate type (some trees aren't cold tolerant) and you soil type (is it free draining or waterlogged and clay, is it acid, alkali or neutral?) as that will influence what species you can grow as well.
    if its an open field think about shelter belt trees to start off with (you can remove them once the main interest tree have matured, i would actually recommend leylandii hedging-something i would never normally do)
  • Re shelter belts ... one of the best I've seen is the one at The Old Vicarage Garden at East Ruston on the Norfolk east coast. 

    The owners say "... we have planted large shelter belts of Pinus radiata, the Monterey Pine, Alnus cordata, the Italian Alder, Holm Oak and Eucalyptus. This enhances the garden’s unique microclimate which enables us to grow such a huge range of plants...

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • The Forestry Commission came and gave advice on our wood. I don't know if a new project on open ground is something they would get involved with but there are grants (or there were) for tree planting. With 12 acres, you could have an arboretum that contrasts an acre or two of native woodland with ornamental. Just a thought.
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