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Tree-mendous soil is key to success
LEADING Hampshire organic farm Laverstoke Park has branched out to form a new partnership called Soil-is-Key.
Laverstoke Park Laboratories, based on the farm owned by former F1 World Champion Jody Scheckter has teamed up with arboricultural consultancy, Treework Environmental Practice.
The aim of the partnership is to improve the health of trees through a deeper understanding of the soil that they depend on.
Soil-is-Key brings a holistic soil approach to the tree world. With Laverstoke’s experience and focus on complete soil health, and Treeworks’ long-standing engagement with conservation arboriculture, the collaboration aims to deliver and share an accessible way of studying the rooting environment, exploring ways of improving soil health using organic amendments that support the below ground ecosystem.
Neville Fay, principal consultant at Treework Environmental Practice, said: “In arboriculture, we spend so much time looking up and so little time looking down, even when searching out pathogens.
“We know a little about fungus-root mutual relationships, but have less knowledge when it comes to the interrelated world of soil organisms – fungal, bacterial, protozoan and worms – and the food network they all contribute to below ground, that is so fundamental to the tree's healthy existence.
“Our Soil-is-Key partnership gives us the opportunity to provide expertise in this vital aspect of tree health."
Simon Parfey, of Laverstoke Park Laboratories, said: “Trees are so important to many different ecosystems that it simply makes sense to include the one beneath our feet when looking for answers relating to tree health.
“Soil-is-Key combines Laverstoke Park Laboratories’ practical experience, based on applied scientific knowledge, with Treework Environmental Practice’s expertise as leading tree specialists.
“The objective of the alliance is simple – to learn and teach from practical knowledge, and develop robust and positive action for the better management of our trees, which fundamentally includes their soil.
“It is unfortunate that so many modern-day environmental issues can be traced back to depleted humic layer and a lack of fertility in soils.”
The Soil-is-Key partnership is currently operating a number of study projects that are assessing and treating mature and veteran trees, affected by disease and other threats.
These include oak trees affected by Acute Oak Decline (AOD) and plane trees affected by Massaria Disease of Plane (MDP).
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