Our tree nursery plays a key role for Scotland’s forests and land. Growing trees, not only for the timber industry but also new woodland creation projects and diversifying existing woodland too.
In the past we had many small nurseries across Scotland, but these days we have just one nursery at Newton near Elgin. Newton is in north-east Scotland, around 30 miles from Inverness. This spot was chosen due to its unique microclimate that makes it significantly drier and sunnier than other places in the country. The area is also rich with fertile soil making it the ideal place for the young trees to grow and ours is not the only tree nursery in the area.
We grow 7 million seedlings every year
Our forests need approximately 25 million new trees per year, so we need our nursery to produce a lot of young trees!
Currently, we’re only able to grow around 7 million trees for ourselves and the rest are bought from other nurseries across the UK. We have just started a major redevelopment that will mean we could grow up to 19 million seedlings at Newton Nursery every year.
Specialist contractors collecting Scots pine cones in Cairngorms National Park
The journey from seed to sapling
Tape4Trees is a one-of-a-kind technology that allows us to plant 1 million trees a day
The future of Newton
As part of our ambitious redevelopment plans, we are excited to introduce a state-of-the-art 12,000m² glasshouse. The building will be around the size of two football pitches and capable of growing up to 19 million trees a year.
The stock produced will be mostly conifer species such as Lodge Pole Pine, Scots Pine, Sitka and Norway Spruce, which are the backbone of Scotland’s £1 billion forestry industry.
This modern addition will revolutionize our approach by providing a controlled environment to nurture our seedlings. By shielding them from invasive weeds and curious critters, we anticipate a significant boost in our germination success rate, aiming to achieve an impressive 80% germination rate for our seeds. We anticipate construction to be complete by December 2024.
Once the redevelopment is complete, Newton could have up to 25 million trees growing on site in any one year. A significant increase from the 7 million trees we are currently able to produce.
Our history of growing trees
Although we always love looking for new technologies to improve our work, it’s important to recognise the heritage of Newton Nursery too. Our predecessor, Forestry Commission, was set up in 1919 to oversee the reforestation of Britain after the First World War; demand for wood, and the challenge of importing materials during the war had stripped many areas of their trees. UK tree cover had dipped to as low as 5% so we needed to work hard to restore those lost woodlands.
Tree nurseries were set up across the country to meet the growing demand for trees, Newton had been a working agricultural farm and was turned into a tree nursery in 1931. We estimate there has been over 300 million trees grown since then!
Explore our nursery
Learn more about how the nursery works, where the seeds come from, how we care for them at the nursery and how we are modernising for the future.