This week is National Tree Week! Now, when I hear about these National weeks I always wonder who came up with these and who decided it should be now. With social media, it seems every day is world something day or National save the something day. But National Tree Week is quite an established week. It was set up by the UK tree council in 1975 in response to Dutch Elm disease. The original press release is worth a read. Events included then prime minister Harold Wilson planted a tree and Chequers and Margaret Thatcher later in the week planting one as leader for the opposition. While The UK tree council sounds like it should be a group of ents from the Middle Earth of Tolkein the aims of the week are worth sharing.
The week aims to do something positive to help your local treescape. The main aim is to get new trees planted. As a lover of wildlife and gardening and the two combined planting trees in your garden is a great thing to do.
Trees for wildlife
Trees make up vital parts of many healthy Tolkien. They can offer shelter, food, perches and cover. I only have a few small trees within my garden, but they provide a safe spot for the birds to hide within to then move out into the garden to look for food. They are also acting as a carbon store helping tackle climate change.
Last Winter the many apple trees in gardens surrounding mine brought in the fieldfares.
Pretty much any book you read on garden design will at some point suggest you need to have some form of tree to provide interest at different heights. They can draw the eye in different directions and can be used to make smaller areas look bigger used well. They can be used to cover unwanted views or stop other people seeing in. Some sources will suggest that they will block out noise, but unless you have a very large garden and are creating a very wide shelter belt this is unlikely to have a massive effect.
Through the year the colours of the leaves and shapes offer different interest. The lush green of Summer being replaced by the fiery colours of Autumn. Then even in winter they still keep a structure to the garden.
Even now the leaves have fallen the tree still serves a purpose to hang the bird feeders on and a few decorations of local glass buoys.
Within my local area flooding has been an issue over the last decade and looks like it will potentially increase. Trees have been shown to reduce flooding. When it rains some water will stay on the leaves and evaporate off and not reach the ground. Then some of what does reach the ground will be absorbed into the tree roots. They also slow the rate of water reaching the ground and flowing into drains or rivers. Tree roots also help to act as a net keeping soil in place preventing soil washing away and causing problems. While a single garden tree won’t have a massive impact if every garden has one or two trees this adds up.
Planting a tree
Now is a good time to buy and plant a tree. You can pick up much cheaper as bare root trees. It is a good time to get planting as the tree has a chance to get rooted and well watered in over the wetter months before we face another potential drought next Summer. Don’t forget if you plant a tree most will need watering regularly for the first few years during dry periods.
The RHS offers these as there top five small trees.
- Acer griseum
- Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Ballerina’
- Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’
- Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’
- Prunus ‘Amanogawa’
And more advice can be found here.
The RSPB also offers advice here.
Hope you feel inspiration to take a look at your exisitng trees or even add a new one. Enjoy this National Tree Week and get out and admire the wonders that are trees. Maybe even induldge in a bit of tree hugging.