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A project that is gearing up to revolutionise tree nursery practices is a contender in next week’s Scottish Public Service Awards.

Nominated for the Sustainability Award, TreeTape is a new system of germinating and planting young trees that will help increase the number of viable seedlings grown from seed.

A development partnership between CivTech, Forestry and Land Scotland and Cumbria Tree Growers - and with support from the Can Do Innovation Fund - TreeTape has been trialled at a nursery in Newton, Near Elgin, with spectacular results: using the new system, FLS Newton nursery team were able to plant 1 million trees in one day against the current industry standard that sees a team of seven plant 60,000 trees in one day!

Josh Roberts, Innovation Manager with Forestry and Land Scotland, said;

“Working with the Scottish Government’s CivTech team to harness and apply the lateral thinking skills of technological innovators to a range of forestry issues has been remarkably successful.

“TreeTape is the first of what we hope will be many successes but which in its own right will help ensure the continuity of tree supply that is required to meet the Scottish Government’s ambitious tree planting targets in response to the Climate Emergency.

“Initial trials have returned great results and has already garnered interest from around the world.

“A lot of people have contributed to this project – not least our local staff at the Newton Nursery and to have found this solution to an age-old problem and have it be noted internationally is already a major achievement…but to be in the running for a Public Service Award is the icing on the cake.”

The new technological approach is a great leap forward in itself but is anticipated to deliver even greater benefits when combined it with other products developed in the CivTech Challenge, including moisture retaining seed coatings and seed priming technologies.

Michael Ashby, Director and Founder of TreeTape UK Ltd, said;

“This has been a very rewarding experience that has let us bring our knowledge of agricultural techniques to a new field. Everyone involved has learned a lot from each other and as well as having huge potential for forestry, this project will open up new markets for us.

“To have our collective efforts recognised with this nomination for a public service award is a fantastic achievement.” 

Barbara Mills CivTech Programme Manager Programme , said;

“The FLS and TreeTape challenge is great example of what can be achieved when an organisation embraces innovation to tackle a challenge so key to sustainability and we are delighted it has been recognised through these awards.    

“The combination of the expertise of the Forestry and Land Team and the  completely different approach Tree Tape brought to looking at this challenge has resulted in a completely new approach to the early stage production of trees at scale through forest nurseries. It has the potential to be transformative for the whole sector and the Civtech programme is delighted to have supported such a fantastic initiative.”

As well as being of benefit to FLS, some private sector nurseries are already registering their interest in the solutions that FLS has developed through CivTech in partnership with the product developers.

The awards ceremony will take place online on Wednesday 16 December.


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 0131 370 5059 or