TEN thousand clones of the Sycamore Gap tree could be created in a laboratory under plans to replace it and raise money for the heritage trust site damaged in its felling.

Intelligent Growth Solutions has offered to use its vertical farming technology hub in Invergowrie, Perthshire, to grow the trees at pace and donate them to the National Trust.

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David Farquhar, the company’s chief executive, suggested that some of these could be sold to cover the costs of protecting the young trees once they are moved outdoors in Cumbria. The company would not charge the National Trust for any of its work.

The 300-year-old tree that stood alongside Hadrian’s Wall was toppled late on Wednesday or in the early hours of Thursday last week.

Forestry Journal: The vertical tree farm can grow saplings up to six times faster than a traditional nursery setting The vertical tree farm can grow saplings up to six times faster than a traditional nursery setting (Image: FJ)

Hadrian’s Wall, which ran alongside the tree, was also damaged when the tree was felled, Historic England said on Thursday.

David said that it would take between 45 and 60 days to grow a series of sycamores to the stage where they could be planted outside, which would usually take six months. 

“We can take seeds harvested from the sycamore and on a tray the size of a snooker table we can plant 10,000 trees,” David told the Times.

“How about if they [the National Trust] were to get a batch of saplings and sell them before Christmas? What would someone pay to have a child of that tree? That money could be used to pay for the protection of those trees on site.”

As we have previously reported, a man in his 60s and a 16-year-old boy have both been arrested in connection with the tree's felling. The pair has since been released on bail. 

Elsewhere, the charity Woodland Heritage has offered to help collect and preserve the remains of the Sycamore Gap tree so that its legacy can be saved as fine furniture for the nation.

Forestry Journal: Sycamore Gap's felling was mourned around the world Sycamore Gap's felling was mourned around the world

The charity, which operates a sawmill in Herefordshire, said it would professionally dry and store the sycamore timber until it could be made into beautiful objects by master craftspeople.

David Cracknell, vice-chairman of Woodland Heritage, said: “Sycamore is a brilliant white timber, but there is a strong likelihood that because it was felled at this time of year the sap will turn the timber yellow leaving ugly streaks – unless it is air dried and stored correctly by professionals. 

READ MORE: Sycamore Gap felling: Update from Northumberland National Park

“Preserving the fine timber for the nation in the form of beautiful furniture or objects – such as bowls, chairs, tables and benches – would not only provide a fitting legacy for the Sycamore Gap Tree, but it would also ensure that the carbon captured in it be locked up forever. If the trunk is burnt or left to rot it will release the CO2 back into the atmosphere."