Green-fingered residents in Warwickshire are being encouraged by Warwickshire County Council to plant a tree or two during the upcoming 2023/24 planting season.
The UK tree planting season runs between the colder months of November and March when trees are naturally dormant and there is less chance of them being damaged during the planting process. Trees planted during this period will tend to have the best chance of survival to maturity.
Warwickshire County Council has ambitious tree planting plans that will see a tree for every resident planted across the county by 2030. This tree planting programme has been strategically planned to restore parts of forests and wooded areas that have been long lost to time, such as the ancient Forest of Arden, which once covered most of the county and beyond into Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
To support this aim, the Council recently created its own tree nursery , which will supply whips and saplings to meet its own planting needs and, in the longer term, be available to other organisations across the county. This nursery will not only be able to supply tree stock, but because they are grown locally, will also dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of trees that are planted when compared to imported alternatives.
While the Council has its own targets for tree planting, it is also inviting everyone in Warwickshire to embark on their own tree planting during the coming winter months. To make things a bit easier, Forestry and Ecology experts from Warwickshire County Council have shared some of their top tips for planting a tree or two:
- Think carefully about the type of planting you are going to do. There are a range of options from the cheapest (but slowest) of planting from seed, to planting saplings and whips all the way up to planting trees that are closer to maturity.
- Always try to pick trees that are native to the UK. This will give you the best chance at success. Trees to think about are Oak and Elm or fruit trees like Apple, Pear or Cherry. Here is a useful guide from the Woodlands Trust on which species of trees you could plant: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/advice/choose/
- Plant trees at least 2 meters apart. If you are planting a tree in your own garden, ensure it is far enough away from your property that root systems, when fully grown, will not interfere with the foundations.
- Always prepare your planting site. This means that if your planting area is overgrown, cut the grass short and remove weeds from the area. This will make planting easier and reduce competition for water, helping your saplings to thrive. Find out more about different methods of planting here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/advice/how-to-plant/
- Trees are like pets and need ongoing care. Although native trees are resilient and can be hardy, you can’t just plant one and leave it, hoping for the best. For at least the first three years, your newly planted tree is going to need ongoing care to ensure that it thrives and that your planting efforts are not wasted. Here is a useful guide to ongoing tree care: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/advice/care/
Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and the Environment, said: “There is no better time than right now to plant a tree in Warwickshire and to play your part in reducing carbon emissions and increasing the county’s biodiversity through the creation of new habitats for wildlife.
“The global reduction of woods and forests and associated habitat and biodiversity loss is one of the greatest damages that we have done to our planet and its ecosystems. Renewed tree planting across the world will be integral to our response to the mounting climate crisis, which is why this Council is so committed to its own tree planting and to encouraging our residents, businesses, community and voluntary groups to do the same where they can.
“The Woodlands Trust have stated that to meet the UK’s carbon net-zero target, it will need to plant at least 1.44 million hectares of new forestry across the country. In Warwickshire, we are fully committed to playing our part in this huge tree planting challenge.
“To anyone who does rise to the challenge of planting a tree in the 2023/24 season, I would encourage you to log it on the West Midlands Virtual Forest platform so we can contribute to creating a picture of new trees and woodland across the region.”
The West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Virtual Forest platform is an online mapping tool that enables anyone who has planted a tree to register it on the Virtual Forest and it is hoped that all new tree planting across Warwickshire, and the wider region, will be included. It is part of the WMCA’s long-term commitment to the environment, #WM2041, which is the regional plan to be carbon neutral by 2041 and to restore and enhance the natural environment.
Find out more about the Warwickshire tree nursery, which will underpin the WCC tree planting targets: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/3250/the-warwickshire-tree-nursery-planting-for-our-future
Find out more about Warwickshire County Council’s commitment to planting a tree for every resident: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/2528/a-tree-for-every-resident-in-warwickshire
For more information about how Warwickshire County Council is facing the challenges of the climate change emergency, visit: https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/
Get the latest news about how Warwickshire County Council and partners are facing the challenge of the climate emergency and how you can get involved: http://eepurl.com/hrk-zf
To register your tree planting on the Virtual Forest platform, visit www.wmvirtualforest.co.uk