The main aim of the propagation unit is to ensure that the diversity within the collection is maintained and expanded.
Trees for propagation are prioritised into different categories according to their significance. Category 1 contains those plants with the highest priority.
Most of our IUCN Red Data Book species are listed as category 1 plants. Plants often change categories however - for instance when a plant of genetic value is to be removed from the collection it may become a Category 1 plant.
Selection of plants and seed from the various index semina and surplus plant lists is directed by the accession policy. Treatment of any accession is recorded in great detail on a database, and this is proving to be a more and more valuable tool as the years go by. The database allows our propagators to search for the best way of propagating new and unusual material.
Most of the propagation work at Westonbirt involves vegetative propagation, as it is the particular genotype that we are interested in. Our work mainly involves cuttings and grafting.
With new species we are always looking for wild source material and partake in seed collecting trips with partner organisations regularly. However we are also planting and propagating many cultivars from our own collections to continue the heritage of some of our rarest plants.
Find out more about our strategy for developing the tree collection here.