Registered in Ireland No: 111380
Charity No: CHY 6799
CRA No: 20013417

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The Tree Council of Ireland is a non-governmental voluntary organisation that was set up in 1985 as an umbrella body for
organisations involved in planting, management and conservation of trees. 

Our mission statement is to foster a tree culture in Ireland through action and awareness.

Alder Fearnóg (Alnus glutinosa)

One of Ireland’s most traditional and widely distributed trees, alders may be found in damp areas, beside freshwater loughs and along river banks, where their strong fibrous roots may help to keep the bank in place. Alder woodlands are found in Ross Island, Killarney, Co Kerry and the Gearagh, Co. Cork, while Grantstown wood, Co. Laois is a rare example of wet woodland on an alkaline soil.
Like most trees, alder flowers before the leaves are out, with attractive reddish catkins and small cones that contain the seeds. Alder will grow in most soils, and likes wet sites. Given rich damp soil alder will grow rapidly and is a really productive tree for timber. In ancient Ireland sections of alder trunks were used as round shields. Later, it was used for making clogs and also in the furniture trade where it was known as ‘Irish mahogany’. As it is resistant to decay when submerged in water, alder is used to make sluice gates and other structures along streams, rivers and canals.

Ash Fuinseog (Fraxinus excelsior)

Ash is the commonest tree in Irish hedgerows, and is also a traditional woodland species. It will grow in a range of soils, not acid, and prefers well-drained sites. Ash woods are found in the Burren, Co Clare, and Hanging Rock in South Fermanagh.
The flowers are very dark, almost black, and may be seen before the leaves develop – ash is one of the last trees to come into leaf and is one of the first to lose its leaves in autumn. The seeds are clumps of winged keys. The pale dense timber makes good firewood and is also used for hurley sticks, snooker cues and furniture.

Aspen Crann creathach (Populus tremula)

The one definitely native poplar is aspen (all other poplars may be assumed to be introduced, although the black poplar is still being argued about). Aspen

will grow into a full sized tree. The leaves make a distinctive sound as they rattle gently in the wind, and they have a sweet smell in the spring. Aspen can

be found in wet areas and around lake edges such as in Glenveagh, Co. Donegal. Poplars produce seeds on catkins, but also spread vegetatively by suckers

i.e. new shoots growing up from the roots. It is easiest to propagate aspen by cutting through roots and transplanting a sucker. A warning should be given about planting aspen in damp sites with good soil. They sucker very readily and may spread too far, taking over too great an area. Choose aspen if you don’t mind an invasion!

Downy Birch Beith chlúmhach (Betula pubescens)

There are two types of birch in Ireland, downy and silver. The most usual is the downy birch, which like silver birch is a delicate tree with fine branches and small leaves. The springtime flowers are catkins which stay on the tree and contain the mature seed by autumn.
Birch will grow in poor soils, but likes a sunny position. Downy birch is tolerant of wet sites, but silver birch needs good drainage. Birch woods occur widely, especially on marginal soils, lake edges, such as Lough Ennell Co. Westmeath, fens and on dried out bogs such as Ardkill Bog, Co. Kildare. Birch is typically associated with the Sperrins, growing in peat at the edge of bogs, and on the light sand and gravel soils.
It makes a good ornamental garden tree, as it does not grow too large. Like alder, its seeds are popular with small seed-eating birds such as siskin and redpoll. In early times toghers or walkways, usually across bog land were made from birch. Nowadays, it is more commonly used in making plywood.

Silver Birch Beith gheal (Betula pendula)

There are two types of birch in Ireland, downy and silver. The most usual is the downy birch, which like silver birch is a delicate tree with fine branches and small leaves. The springtime flowers are catkins which stay on the tree and contain the mature seed by autumn.
Birch will grow in poor soils, but likes a sunny position. Downy birch is tolerant of wet sites, but silver birch needs good drainage. Birch woods occur widely, especially on marginal soils, lake edges, such as Lough Ennell Co. Westmeath, fens and on dried out bogs such as Ardkill Bog, Co. Kildare. Birch is typically associated with the Sperrins, growing in peat at the edge of bogs, and on the light sand and gravel soils.
It makes a good ornamental garden tree, as it does not grow too large. Like alder, its seeds are popular with small seed-eating birds such as siskin and redpoll. In early times toghers or walkways, usually across bog land were made from birch. Nowadays, it is more commonly used in making plywood.

Wild Cherry Gean – crann silíní fiáin (Prunus avium)

One of our most attractive trees, with its white or very pale pink flowers in spring, followed by hanging cherries. The bark is also attractive, and the leaves provide autumn colour. Wild cherry is very common in St. Johns Wood, Co. Roscommon.
Cherry is often found in old field hedgerows where it may have been planted by man, but is also found in mixed deciduous woodland. The old farm trees may not be native in the sense of ancient woodland, but they are part of our rural history, like crab apple and old varieties of apple, pear, plum and damson, once grown in gardens and small orchards throughout the country. It is often used as a decorative wood in joinery and furniture making.

Bird Cherry Donnroisc (Prunus padus)

This species is most frequently found in the northwest, for example around Churchill and Lough Gartan, Co. Donegal. It is most easily spotted in the spring, around May, when the flowers are out. The creamy-white flowers are borne in rows along flower stalks about 10cm. long, and are quite obvious above the green foliage.
The dark berries or small cherries ripen in August, when the trees may be more difficult to locate, so you have to remember where you spotted them in the spring, (if you search for cherries after the 15th you may be too late!). It may be possible to mark them with a tie around the trunk. Bird cherry is worth the effort as it is an attractive small tree with true flowers and grows willingly, preferring good soil and a sheltered site.
Treat bird cherry fruit as common wild cherry.