Trees for babies scheme

Medlar

To encourage the planting of more trees, and promote the benefits that trees bring to the city, we'll give you a tree to mark your baby's birth.

Anyone living within the boundary of the city who has recently become a parent is eligible, and the tree must be planted in Cambridge. Ideally room should be found in your own garden, but if this isn't possible perhaps a friend or relative, nursery or playgroup, school or employer could find a place.

You can choose from a range of trees – including medlar (above), pear, silver birch, and walnut – that have been selected for their seasonal interest and attractive features. Whether your garden is large or small there should be a suitable tree for you.

Claim your free tree

We aim to deliver your tree between November and February,which is the best time of year to plant. To do this we order trees in September, so any applications received after 31 August will be kept until the following September.

Tree planting is easy and fun to do with the whole family. Download our tree planting guide [PDF, 147kB], which tells you all you need to know to get the job done.

Available trees

Amelanchier (Amelanchier laevis) is a pretty small tree maturing to 12 metres with a broadly spreading crown. The leaves open a coppery pink in early spring, soon followed by sprays of pretty star-like white flowers. Round, juicy, purple-black fruit ripens by July when the birds make short work of them. Amelanchier will grow in sun or shade and most soils.

Dessert apple (Malus domestica variety) Table apples or dessert apples are a group of apple cultivars grown for eating raw as opposed to cooking or cider making. Table apples are usually sweet and the most prized exhibit particular aroma variations that differentiate them from other apples.

Medlar (Mespilus germanica) is a small round-headed tree, maturing to six metres in height and grown for its unusual flowers and fruit. It prefers sun or semi-shade and well-drained, fertile soil.

Mulberry (Morus nigra) is a small tree which reaches up to 10 metres in height with a gently rounded crown. It enjoys a warm, sunny sheltered site on any fertile soil. The leaves are big, heart shaped, rough on the topside and hairy on the underside, and turn yellow in the autumn. The flowers are barely recognisable as such, but the fruit when fully ripe is sweet and delicious, raspberry-type berries that turn from green through red/orange to deep red/black.

Pear (Pyrus cultivar) is a medium-sized tree gaining 10 metres in height with a narrow crown. It is recognised for its spring flowers and fruit. It grows best in full sun and needs well-drained soil.

Silver birch (Betula pendula) is a large, graceful tree. It will grow to about 20 metres with a spread of 10 metres. The leaves colour in the autumn and there are catkins in the spring, but the bark is its best feature. It will tolerate sun and shade and most soils.

Snakebark maple (Acer davidii) is a small tree attaining 12 meters, with a broadly conical outline. The bark resembles a snake’s skin, being bright green with vertical white, brown and grey stripes. The glossy green maple-shaped leaves colour red in the autumn. In late spring small green flowers dangle in bunches between the leaves. The fruit develops as winged seeds like helicopters, but do not self set. The tree prefers neutral to acid soils and well-drained ground.

Walnut (Juglans regia) is a large tree, reaching 15 metres in height, known for its attractive, spreading outline, glossy, aromatic leaves, deeply furrowed bark and edible nuts. It should be grown in full sun and deep, fertile, well-drained soil.

Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is compact and domed. Mature trees can grow to a height of 15 metres. The bark and twigs are smooth and grey, and the shoots are brick red in sunlight, but greyish green in shade. It will tolerate most soils.

Winter flowering cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) is a small tree which will reach eight metres in height and is noted for having pale pink flowers throughout the winter. It will grow in a sunny position and on any soil so long as it is not waterlogged.

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