An Invergowrie firm which specialises in vertical farm technology has offered to help regrow the felled Sycamore Gap tree – free of charge.
The iconic landmark, which was believed to be about 300 years old and stood beside Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, was cut down overnight last week.
Its felling sparked outrage across the UK, with people flooding to social media to express their sadness at what had happened.
A man in his 60s and a 16-year-old boy have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Following the vandalism, National Trust rangers gathered sycamore seeds from the scene to be propagated to grow future trees.
Now Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), based at the James Hutton Institute outside Dundee, have offered their services to the heritage organisation.
Using a precision-controlled environment, IGS say they can grow seedlings up to six times faster than in a traditional outdoor growing environment.
This is achieved, the firm say, by using a fully automated system to control every element of the growing environment and create the “ideal conditions” for the specific plant.
David Farquhar, CEO of Intelligent Growth Solutions, said: “Like the rest of the country, we were shocked and saddened to see the news of the Sycamore Gap tree’s felling.
“We were relieved to subsequently hear that National Trust rangers have been able to collect seeds and branches that may provide scope for growing on or grafting, however the weather at this time of year may make this difficult in a traditional environment.
“As such, we have approached the Trust’s senior leadership with an offer of utilising the vertical farming towers at our Crop Research Centre near Dundee to cultivate seedlings from the original tree in a controlled environment, which would enable us to give multiple offspring the perfect start to life.
“The Sycamore Gap tree was an iconic feature of the North East of England, and much-loved by many. We know the National Trust will have been inundated with offers of help, but we would be honoured to play a small part in ensuring that its legacy can live on.”
National Trust considering future plans
A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “We’re very grateful for all the offers of support we’ve received – from people in the North East and much further afield.
“It is clear this tree was special to many, many people. Currently, we are focussed on making the site safe, and helping staff and the community come to terms with the news.
“We will be working with Northumberland National Park, other partners and communities in the North East to consider plans for the site and the tree in the future, and we will inform people as soon as we know.
“We’ll also post any updates on our social media channels.”