Castaways and forest fires aside, we can look closer to home to our hedgerows where fruit-loving animals, called frugivores, are busy feasting on the available harvest of native species, such as hawthorn, hornbeam, field maple, hazel, blackthorn, crab apple, privet, dog and guelder rose (all these species are soon to be available as bare-rooted whips and some are in stock in our 8Lt. hedging plants). Many of these animals digest the fruit pulp so quickly that it does not have a chance to release its seed, thereby ensuring it remains intact wherever it is deposited to initiate the cycle of reproduction. Often these seeds are protected by a hard seed coat, which resists animal digestion; but conversely, higher germination rates become possible when the animals’ digestive tract removes physical layers or chemical compounds that would otherwise inhibit germination. Thus, beautiful hedgerows grow and spread, continuing to provide habitats for birds and mammals, on which a reciprocal relationship is essential for survival.
Some of the best Autumn and Winter berrying trees and shrubs are detailed below.