In the UK, trees are our biggest plants and our best allies in the fight against climate change. A fundamental part of biodiversity, the benefits of planting trees has gone beyond being a ‘nice to have’ to being hailed as the number one preventative for impending climate disaster.
Explore the many benefits of native trees and plants, with details on tree growing campaigns. Learn which British trees to plant in your green space and when’s good to plant native British tree.
Plants and trees provide all manner of essentials, from the oxygen we breathe, to food, habitat, water, medicine, shade and more. Trees are incredible creations within their own right and it’s no wonder that throughout history, they’ve been seen as symbols of strength, prosperity, health and wisdom.
Tree canopy offers vital absorption of human created pollution, literally hoovering up carbon dioxide in exchange for the clean air we need to survive. Research shows that air pollution prematurely kills nearly 40,000 British people every year. For that reason, urban street trees are considered vital for the health of town and city dwellers.
Trees also act as a sound barrier, so when planted between roads and homes, they’re blocking out unwanted noise pollution, as well as absorbing harmful traffic fumes.
Wildlife and natural systems depends on trees too. Woodland and forests host a rich biodiversity, with every part of a tree, from roots to leaves, supporting life in some way. From the birds that nest in branches, to thousands of insects the crawl within and upon it, to roosting bats and foraging squirrels and badgers, one single tree can support a whole myriad of activity.
And it’s not just wildlife that benefits. Trees are also great for our mental health too. Many studies show that being surrounded in nature reduces cortisol levels (stress hormones) by 50% and more. In fact, in Japan, they’ve made it a national culture to spend time in ancient forests in a practice known as shin rin yoku – which literally translates as ‘forest bathing’.
Increased oxygen from being within trees is also great for our entire bodies. Immersing and connecting to the natural world is both inspiring and calming for the soul.
In a nutshell, planting trees is good for the environment because of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and expel oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.
Human activity has dramatically increased the levels of carbon dioxide or CO2 in our atmosphere since the industrial age, via the continued burning of fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal.
Coal is the worst perpetrator of carbon emissions because of their origins as trees. Long ago buried and compressed underground, coal fumes release all the old carbon that the tree had captured in its lifetime.
Currently, the particles per million (ppm) levels of carbon in our atmosphere are at 411.29ppm and rising. To put that into perspective, within the last 800,000 years, the highest previous level of CO2 in the air 300ppm.
Carbon dioxide is a gas that contains and emits heat gradually over time. Although we need this natural feature to keep the earth habitable and warm, too much CO2 upsets the natural systems of the planet. Excess CO2 remains trapped in the atmosphere, acting like a blanket that increases the earth’s temperature too rapidly.
This hotter earth plays havoc with biodiversity, causing melting ice that rises sea levels, which in turn affects the weather systems and the climate. Climate change is already happening and affects people all around the world already in every continent.
Increased CO2 is also causing ocean acidification, which has sent the world’s ocean PH levels out of synchrony. This acidity prevents marine organisms from forming properly, which affects the entire food chain.
Although technology is working towards better ways at carbon capture storage (CCS), it’s nowhere near the standard needed to reduce carbon levels.
Scientists have uncovered that globally, there are 1.7 billion hectares of land that have no trees growing on it. This land could grow 1.2 trillion native tree saplings. The areas identified account for around 11% of land on earth. Tropical areas have been earmarked for 100% tree cover and remaining areas having around 50% under tree canopy.
Protecting and planting trees is the best and easiest way to ensure the safety of our environment and the future health of our planet. Scientists describe the potential of acting on this as ‘mind blowing’.
Native plants are plants that exist within an area or region naturally. They’re especially important because they co-evolved to support surrounding ecological systems, including butterflies, bees, beetles, birds and other wildlife. That impacts on people too!
By removing native species from the eco structure, you remove all life that depends on them too. Introducing foreign or exotic plants in exchange, means to interfere with the natural order of things, which never tends to lead anywhere good!
Native plants are beautiful, often giving just as much visual pleasure as exotic ones. They are lower maintenance and use less water, as they are where they’re meant to be. That means reduced need for pesticides and artificial plant foods. That’s healthier and cheaper for people too.
Grounds care group commerical landscaping always encourage people and businesses to make choices that benefit the local environment. We are on hand to advise all the best native trees for your soil type, budget and space.
Native trees serve all the animal, bird, reptile and insect species that exist in that environment already, which is why they’re so important. If we don’t provide the wildlife with the host plant it needs, those species of animal, bird and insect will simply not be present any more.
By planting a diverse range of native plants and tree species in our gardens, our commercial premises and land, we encourage a whole network of different life forms. Eco-systems thrive when there is an abundance of plant life for all types of insects.
In turn, this diverse choice of insects impacts the food chain, resulting in a wider array of birds, snakes, mammals and fish.
There is a wide choice of British trees on offer for all types of soil and all sizes of space. Grounds Care Group landscaping offer a tree planting service as well as ongoing maintenance. Our expert team will always consider the best option for the environment first, with a talent for spotting what will be aesthetically pleasing for your outdoor space.
Common English trees:
|Downy Birch||Wild Cherry||Salix|
|Silver Birch||Crab Apple||Rowan|
|Oak Tree||Goat Willow||Spindle|
|Elder Tree||Silver Birch||Willow|
Trees are subject to deforestation all over the world to make way for agriculture, palm oil and buildings. By removing precious rainforests, we have undone all their capacity to heal our climate crisis. Closer to home, we have removed 90% of wildflowers and ancient forests for farming and urban development.
But that’s not the only threat.
A growing disease pandemic, combined with exotic pest problem from importing tree saplings and wood from abroad that’s putting our tree populations at great risk.
In fact, it’s estimated that over the next decade, 150 million mature trees and 2 billion saplings will die because of exotic pests and diseases. That’s almost faster than we can plant them.
A key way of protecting trees, is to ensure that they have been sourced and grown in the UK. That way, nothing harmful can be transferred from overseas, that may inhibit tree health.
Native trees need proper monitoring and protection, which is why it’s worth investing in professionals to take care of your landscape. Skilled tree surgeons, arborists, professional landscapers and botanists can identify tree diseases and pests on native trees early. Treatment can be administered before the tree is overtaken, or spreads to other surrounding trees doing further damage.
Generally, the best time to plant trees is between November and March. It’s the cheapest time to buy root ball and bare root plants. By Spring, the tree will have settled and can begin to bed its roots much deeper, which ultimately leads to a healthier mature tree.
It’s important to plant trees at the correct depth and a professional tree planting company like Grounds Care Group will make sure your tree has the best start!
Here are some other cheeky tips to think about when planting some of the most common trees in the UK.
Tips for planting oak trees include not gathering the first acorns that fall and making sure the seedling is ready for the earth. Oak trees can grow up to 45 metres high so it’s important to have enough space to grow one of these mighty trees.
Apple trees need a sunny, sheltered spot that won’t frost over. Enjoy an abundance of fruits from a healthy apple tree as well as watching plenty of native English birds enjoy the blossom and apples they bring.
Evergreens are wonderful all year round and offer colour when other flowers have died. They also act as an eco friendly alternative for fencing, giving habitat for birds nests and other small creatures.
For dwindling hedgehog populations, hedges are always preferable so the hedgehogs can navigate around freely.
Trees don’t have to be big! There an abundance of small trees to choose from which will still bear fruit and provide perches for birds. From pear trees to magnolias, there is a tree for almost every space!
The great thing about native trees is that many of them happily grow in the soil type you have already. It’s always a good idea to try to provide the plants and trees with good fertiliser to start them off. Grounds Care Group soft landscapers are able to maintain gardens, schools, retail parks, and local authority grounds for you.
Trees look most stunning when surrounded by a diverse range of plants, shrubs and flowers. However, these should be chosen with care because certain trees aren’t compatible with certain plants. Grounds Care group choose our bedding plants and tree surrounds well, so they’ll thrive alongside the tree, add colour and additional eco support, and make the most out of your budget.
In October 2019, the British government set up a £50 million woodland scheme to encourage farmers to turn farmland back to woodland. The intention is to plant 11 million trees by 2022. However, as of June 2020 the figures are still falling well short of the government’s targets, which is thought to be impacted by the Covid pandemic.
Many high profile figures from Britain such as Judi Dench and Prince Charles are ready to help fight climate change, with the recently launched Plant Britain Campaign. The campaign is a two year project aiming to educate and inspire people to plant more trees, in whatever green space they have.
Woodland trust are offering free trees for schools until March 2021, giving hundreds of thousands of trees away to local communites and schools.
We actively encourage all our clients to plant as many trees and native plants as possible, whilst helping maintain landscapes for full health. Your grounds will look beautiful and be a haven for local wildlife. Many of our customers tell us what a joy it is to watch nature from an office window, or as you walk through the business grounds.
Contact us today for any of your soft landscaping, tree planting or plant displays. Our dedicated team will help design, plant and maintain your grounds according to budget, restrictions and needs.