Residents encouraged to help city's 'urban forest' thrive during National Tree Week

News release from 27 November 2017, 2:53pm

CAMBRIDGE City Council is asking residents for their help in promoting and protecting trees during National Tree Week.

During this annual celebration of trees from 27 November-2 December, The Tree Council is encouraging people across the UK to plant more trees, and help existing trees thrive.

In total there are more than 240,000 trees in Cambridge with a variety of landowners responsible for their upkeep, including the council, other local authorities, universities, private householders and businesses. Nearly three quarters of the city’s trees are in private ownership, with the majority in residential gardens.

The council carries out work on an ongoing basis to look after the trees in Cambridge through its Tree Strategy. This sets out ways in which the council:

  • Protects existing trees across the city including veteran and ‘heritage’ trees
  • Enhances tree cover through new tree planting and encourages others to do so
  • Manages the council’s own existing tree stock in parks, streets and open spaces

Among the work currently being done, alongside regular maintenance, is a survey of veteran willow trees on Sheep’s Green, measuring London plane trees for signs of decay on Jesus Green and continuing work to plant a linear orchard of apple tree varieties to help link new neighbourhoods in the south of Cambridge with the rest of the city.

To encourage the planting of more trees, any residents who have had a baby recently are eligible for a free tree from the council under its Free Trees For Babies scheme. Species available including medlar, walnut, pear and silver birch and are delivered between November and February for planting in gardens or elsewhere.

Advice for other residents wishing to plant a tree during National Tree Week includes:

  • Choose a species according to the attributes you want, such as foliage, flowers, bark, fruit, scent, shade and wildlife; and consider how it will change in 20 or 30 years
  • Select a tree that is suitable for an urban area and for a changing climate
  • Make sure you plant it correctly – useful advice on planting is available from The Royal Horticultural Society’s website www.rhs.org.uk

Ways in which residents can help to enhance the tree cover in the city include:

  • Asking the council to plant a tree in your road – if there is a suitable grass verge where a tree could be planted, let us know
  • Encouraging your neighbours, school, workplace or community centre to plant a tree
  • Helping us water trees in the city – we water all new trees regularly, but if you notice a new tree on your street you can help with a hosepipe, watering can, or even your washing up bowl
  • Not over-pruning your tree. Management of trees is mainly needed at the start and end of their lives, but if you need help  you can find tree professionals listed at www.trees.org.uk

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, said: “Trees play a vital role in the Cambridge cityscape. Not only has it been proven that being around trees is beneficial to people’s mental and physical wellbeing, but they also play an important role in combating some of the effects of climate change, and are a vital habitat for wildlife.

“The city council is one of the custodians of trees in the city, but we all have a part to play to ensure our urban forest thrives in the years to come. National Tree Week is an opportunity for you to find out more about trees and how they benefit people, wildlife and the environment, or even to plant a tree and add to our urban forest and its enjoyment by this and future generations.”