We all need to plant trees!
If we lose them, we can’t hug them….and that should be the least of our worries! Plant trees!
Back in April I wrote a blog about the possibility of losing our Oak trees to Acute Oak Decline. Last week The Woodland Trust blogged about the impact of losing 12 million Ash trees to Ash Dieback.
Then there’s Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner, London Planes suffering from Massaria disease, various Phytopthora pathogens and Red band needle blight attacking our conifers…the list goes on. When you factor in the pressures from climate change, pollution and urban development (such as the HS2 rail link destroying Ancient Woodlands) you get the picture – we are losing trees rapidly.
In June, the Forestry Commission released it’s latest woodland cover statistics in their document “Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking”. England has just 10% tree cover – that’s one of the lowest percentages in the whole of Europe!
But there is something we can all do to help….plant a tree, or, if you’ve got the space, plant a load of trees!
By now, we’re probably all vaguely aware of the huge benefits trees provide us with – they breathe in all that CO2 we keep making and they can hold it inside themselves till the day they die. Their leaves trap airbourne pollutants and breathe out oxygen helping to make our air cleaner. They provide the perfect place for wildlife of all descriptions to live, eat and create more new wildlife. They help prevent soil erosion and can combat flooding. But maybe the one benefit we should all be focusing on is that they make us feel good!
There are literally hundreds of studies published on the internet proving that life is better with trees. The National Trust have produced a report called Natural Childhood explaining the benefits of getting kids playing outside. The Woodland Trust funded a project with Dementia Adventure called Wandering in the Woods which showed how spending time with trees helped alleviate the symptoms of dementia. In Trees for Better Human Habitat: the evidence of health benefits, Kathleen Wolf, Ph.D. proved a huge number of benefits associated with spending time with trees, not the least of which was increased immune function, lower pulse-rate, lower blood pressure and lower cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone) all achieved by simply walking amongst trees!?!
So here’s the bit where we can all get involved…plant trees! Whether you’re lucky enough to have a few acres or you’ve got a newly built house with a small patch of lawn out the back, we’ve all got room to plant at least one tree. When I was 9 years old, we moved into a little terraced cottage with a long, skinny garden and the first thing my mum did was plant a tree at the far end. It was a Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and it became my focal point in the garden. I climbed it, helped our cats out of it, drew it, collected the berries to make jam (not recommended!) or simply sat under it when I was sulking! It’s still there today, almost 40 years later, in fact it’s grown so well that Tree Heritage will be giving it a bit of a prune later this year.
This time last year, my partner and I bought a terraced cottage with a long, skinny garden and guess what’s planted at the end of it – a Sorbus aucuparia ‘Joseph Rock’, the yellow-berried form, and it’s a beauty! Our first thought upon seeing the garden was “All that space, we can plant more trees” which is exactly what we’ll be doing later this year. It’s not a huge space but there’s always room for a tree or two – you’d be surprised at how many varieties there are which grow slowly and don’t take over the whole garden. We’re also lucky to have inherited a row of fruit trees – in a space 6′ long by 18″ wide we have a plum, an apple, a cherry and a pear tree, all of which are covered in fruit!
There are quite a few initiatives out there for community planting, school planting etc. but maybe the biggest impact can be had by individuals planting a tree or two in their own garden. It’s where the kids will gather when they’re playing outside, it’s where the birds will gather as they make their way through our urban sprawl, if you pick the right variety you can have flowers, berries, beautiful autumn colour or even edible fruit, and when it gets a bit bigger, it’s where you’ll set up the table and chairs for summer picnics and barbecues because trees also shelter us from UV rays and sudden summer downpours!
If you think you’ve got room for a tree but don’t know which one to plant, how to plant it, when to plant it or how to look after it so it thrives and becomes your grandchild’s favourite tree – give us a call or send us a message using this link: Tree Heritage – Contact Us
Happy tree planting!!