July 25, 2024

A helping hand is being given to protect a rare shrub in Denbighshire.

Denbighshire County Council’s Biodiversity team and rangers from the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, have started work on a project to support the increase of juniper shrubs across the area.

Juniper is rare in Denbighshire, known only at a location on Prestatyn hillside. The shrub is also a priority species for protection in the UK after a dramatic decline due to over grazing and loss of suitable grazing areas.

It can grow up to 10 metres in the right conditions, its berries are produced all year around and seeds from the shrub can take up to two years to germinate.

Efforts were made to protect a solitary juniper in Denbighshire in 2008 when the Council worked with Chester Zoo to put in young plants at Prestatyn hillside to encourage the existing juniper to grow.

Now the Council’s Biodiversity team is taking up the baton to support the shrub with the help of the local provenance tree nursery at St Asaph.

The tree nursery project is funded by Welsh Government through the Local Places for Nature grant, aims to provide native trees and wildflowers to support the county’s biodiversity.

Members of the Biodiversity Team recently visited the site and have harvested seeds to be taken back to the nursery.

Liam Blazey, Senior Biodiversity Officer said: “We are fortunate enough in Denbighshire to have a small population of juniper from which we can harvest seed from. Juniper provides valuable habitat and food for a diverse range of species, including insects, birds, and mammals.

“Its dense spikey foliage provides shelter and nesting sites for a variety of bird species, whilst its berries are an essential food source for birds and small mammals all year round. We look forward to growing on a new generation of this amazing shrub at the Councils tree nursery in St Asaph.”

Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Part of our ongoing work is to protect the nature we have across the county and this fantastic project will help expand the presence of juniper in the county going forward.”