Excellent Eastbourne Tree Planting

The weather as we set off from Tonbridge today was rather concerning – cold and heavy rain with a chilly breeze, but by the time we got to Princes Park in sunny Eastbourne, the weather was dry and actually beginning to warm up. We first met the highly efficient and friendly Trevor and Barry from Neighbourhood First, Eastbourne Council, who quite rightly wanted to know who had interrupted their Sunday morning by organising a bit of tree planting. After I had confessed, we soon realised we actually relied upon them utterly for practical support and organisation! Our leaders Basil and Labu soon arrived with the essential trees, canes and spiral guards and then another friendly and helpful face appeared – the amazing Luke Jones from Brighton, keen as always to get some trees planted – I knew everything was going to be alright now!  Next to appear was the rather wonderful Stephen Lloyd MP in search of a tree-planting event to go to, and then everybody began to arrive on site and suddenly  speed was of the essence. The group was the Keral Social Club – The name Keral stands for Kids Educational Recreational Arts and Linguistic. After a brief series of introductions, we got to work, with the youngsters managing their parents to excellent effect!

113424 Families getting to work, Princes Park, Eastbourne 2018 12 09

We had quite a large number of families, I would guess about 10 families, so about 40 or 50 people altogether to get all the trees in – some reinforcement saplings were called for!

113127 Tree planting at Princes Park, Eastbourne 2018 12 09

We all had a great time tree-planting, and soon it was time for the presentation of the Tree-planting certificates for the youngsters in the group who had worked so hard.

115128 Issueing of tree planting certificates, Princes Park, Eastbourne 2018 12 09

And then of course it was time for the Group Photo, this time with a superb banner and even national flags as well!

115657 Group photo, Keral Social Club, Princes Park, Eastbourne 2018 12 09

So we had had a really great morning with the wonderful Keral Social Club,  organised with Trees of Love, Basil especially, skilfully and very kindly supported by Stephen Lloyd, MP, and by the superb staff of Neighbourhood First, Trevor and Basil from Eastbourne Borough Council. Lots of young saplings carefully planted on a chilly morning for a better future environment!

140327 Some of the planted trees 2018 12 09

Poster

Tree Planting Week – and more!

Over the weekend of the start of Tree Planting Week, and of Tree Charter Day, some Kent Tree (and Pond!) Wardens joined with a great community group, Trees of Love, to plant whips from the Woodland Trust and TCV in Grosvenor and Hilbert Park in Tunbridge Wells, and Tonbridge Farm Sportsground (Longmead) in Tonbridge.

We were quite lucky with the weather on both days and I think we got close to 200 trees planted over the weekend as a whole. The families and the children in particular worked very hard and very much enjoyed the whole experience, including receiving their tree-planting certificates!

We are hoping to continue working with Trees of Love and other groups, and we plan to plant more whips at Longmead, and possibly at Hoo, Croydon, Eastbourne and perhaps Haysden Country Park in the coming months – do come and join us if you can!

Tree planting at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, Tunbridge Wells today!Tree planting at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, Tunbridge Wells today 2!Tree planting at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, Tunbridge Wells today 3!

Tree planting celebration.

In the parishes of Littlebourne, Ickham and Wickhambeaux, all near Canterbury, Tree Wardens have been involved in the planting of trees this week to celebrate 50 years of the local Four Villages Conservation Society. Unfortunately, they had to wait for the availability of one tree so they just missed out on the official Tree Council’s Planting Week, but they can definitely still claim to be a part of this year’s effort!

Littlebourne chose a Bird Cherry, Prunus padus, for their riverbank site, Wickhambreaux has a Field Maple, Acer campestre nanum for the small central green and Ickham has a Pin Oak, Quercus palustris, for the churchyard.

The young tree at Wickhambreaux will automatically receive the status of having a TPO as it replaces a felled Pink Horse-Chestnut. Aesculus x carnea.

These will all be recorded on the new Heritage Trees in Kent map by the new volunteer group who are continuing the work of the Kent Heritage Tree Project. Please let us know of any other newly planted trees that you would like to be recorded on the new Kent map!

Britain’s new Tree Champion!

From the Tree Council – Britain’s recently appointed Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley, has marked his preparations for this month’s National Tree Week by paying tribute to the thousands of dedicated and expert Tree Wardens around the country who work behind the scenes as unpaid volunteers all year round.


 

With the six-month point of his tenure as the country’s first Tree Champion fast approaching, Sir William Worsley calls National Tree Week “an important part of my year” and has highlighted the work of the 6,000 volunteer Tree Wardens that promote and protect the trees in their local community, under a scheme managed by The Tree Council. This year, The Tree Council are taking the opportunity to thank these volunteers for their tireless work, which according to Sir William represents “a vital resource”.

Throughout National Tree Week, which runs from Saturday 24 November to Sunday 2 December, the country’s Tree Wardens will be busy planting trees in their local communities, encouraging schools and other groups to get involved, and will be ensuring the future care of newly planted trees.

 

Sara Lom, CEO of The Tree Council, said: “National Tree Week will see charities, professionals, schools and our volunteer Tree Warden groups across the UK supporting the initiative and bringing their communities together to do something positive in their neighbourhood. Trees are rooted in history and offer hope for the future. They strengthen communities, provide homes for wildlife and contribute to our health and wellbeing. That’s why it’s so vital for everyone to keep planting and caring for trees, and our volunteer Tree Wardens are the hidden heroes, getting people together to plant and care for trees around the country.” The Tree Council is currently seeking to grow the number of Tree Wardens nationwide.

 

Sir William sees National Tree Week as “an opportunity to engage people in planting trees.” The Tree Wardens “play a huge role in getting people engaged in trees, particularly in urban areas,” he adds.

 

Sir William is calling everyone to get involved in National Tree Week as a way that individuals and communities can support the UK’s natural habitat and the wider environment. “It’s important that people understand about trees and feel inspired to look after them.”

 

Sir William encouraged members of the younger generation in particular to become more involved in supporting trees. “Young people understand about the issues of climate change and this is one of the ways they can actually do something. By planting a tree, you genuinely can do something. It may be only small, but it is actually something practical.” The importance of planting trees has been emphasised by the latest Committee on Climate Change report calling on the UK to double tree planting efforts to help tackle climate change.

 

Sir William, who has urged that trees must be at the heart of the government’s environmental vision for the future, added: “I would encourage all people to work closely with The Tree Council right across the sector. I think there are a huge number of people out there trying to get involved with trees and forests, and I think The Tree Council has a really important leadership role to play in bringing organisations together.”

 

Beyond National Tree Week, Sir William is encouraging people to remain involved with trees around the country.  “I would definitely encourage more people to become Tree Wardens,” Sir William said. “I admire the Tree Wardens. I admire all people that love trees.”

The Tree Council

Phone: 020 7407 9992

The Tree Council, 4 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU

 

Ash to Ash

 

Ash to Ash, a major new public artwork by Ackroyd & Harvey commissioned by The Ash Project, is now open to the public in White Horse Wood Country Park.A visit to these stunning new sculptures provides a thought-provoking opportunity to learn more about the ash tree or simply take some wonderful photos.

These monolithic sculptural works by the internationally renowned artists are both a celebration of ash trees and memorial to the devastating effects of ash dieback on the most common tree in the Kent Downs. White Horse Wood Country Park is free to visit and open to the public.

Watch the video about the making of the sculptures on you tube

Read some fantastic responses to the sculptures from the public on our website

Plan your visit

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Community Tree Planting at Tonbridge

We had a tremendous day planting young saplings with families at the Tonbridge Farm Sportsground on Sunday the 25th of November, kindly supported by the two Tonbridge and Malling Borough Councillors, Councillor Vivienne Branson and Councillor Georgina Thomas.

This is Councillor Branson doing a superb job, planting the very first tree in Longmead Park for the start of National Tree Planting Week:

Councillor Branson

The families and particularly the children worked extremely hard to get the planting done. Saplings of Birch, Wild Cherry, Hazel, Crab Apple and Hawthorn were planted to provide a bio-diverse woodland shaw on the edge of Tonbridge Farm to help shelter the playing fields and play a small part in local flood control. The children’s “Tree Planting Certificates” were very richly deserved!

 

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Group photo

Tree Planting certificates blank

 

 

Champion Trees in your area!

Champion trees in Kent

Tree Wardens absolutely love to help out identifying and measuring the tallest and greatest girth of all the different species and cultivars of trees found in Kent. These are all listed as County Champions on the Tree Register of the British Isles and Ireland (TROBI). Membership, and searchable access to the records of all the Champions costs as little as a pound a month and is a great tree charity to support! http://www.treeregister.org/

For example, a friend re-measured the Kent champion of the rare Crab-apple Malus kansuensis on private ground the other week. The tree was last officially measured 19 years ago. An amazing tree, unusual lobed leaves and egg-shaped fruit, what a pleasure to identify it, measure it and update its records on “The Tree Register”.

Malus kansuensis                        Malus-kansuensis.Fr_-225x300

Do you think you own or know of a county champion tree in your area, your parish or town, or even your own garden? Do let us know!

Tree Walk in Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells, Sunday 15th July 2018.

Dunorlan Park is an extremely important tree resource in Tunbridge Wells, with many wonderful trees still surviving from the original plantings laid out in the 1860s by one of the most famous landscape gardeners of the 19th Century, Robert Marnock. The overall landscaping themes of the park have been adhered to in the renovation of the park in the 1990s and recent tree plantings. The trees provide very significant eco-benefits in Tunbridge Wells such as carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen release, pollution trapping, biodiversity, flood mitigation and huge leisure and health benefits to the residents and visitors to the town.

The Friends of Dunorlan Park were kind enough to invite us to lead a Tree Walk in the park, to look at the history, features and ecology of some of the many spectacular trees in the park.

Just by the Pembury Road gate is a striking Hornbeam with wonderful low branches ideal for climbing on. There are literally thousands of native trees in the park, which provide excellent resources for the abundant insects, birds and bats that depend upon them.

IMG 4282 Hornbeam for climbing Dunorlan Park 2016-07-27

Just close by is a statuesque tall English Oak, and some excellent golden Lawson’s Cypress, forming a lovely entrance.

IMG 4273 English Oak Dunorlan Park entrance 2016-07-27

Only a little further on is the iconic sweeping line of Deodar Cedars about 160 years old along the old house driveway. These trees are from the foothills of the Himalaya and can achieve a height of 60 m. in good growing conditions of their homeland.

IMG 4277 Deodar Cedar by old drive Dunorlan Park 2016-07-27

A large weeping Spruce a few metres away is the rarely planted Morinda Spruce, which can grow side by side with the Deodars in forests from Afghanistan to Nepal. This tree is large but still might be a more recent planting than the Deodars?

IMG 4434 Morinda Spruce Dunorlan Park 2016-07-27

As we approached the terrace we came across the first of two unusual Incense Cedars. This tree comes from the Western coasts of North America. Its wood is used to make pencils as the wood does not splinter in pencil sharpeners! The leaves however smell of boot polish. As we crossed the terrace, we looked down on the veteran Yew that is so popular with children.

IMG 4488 Veteran Yew used for climbing Dunorlan Park 2016-07-28

We moved on to the Greek Temple – and there was a (County Champion) Greek Fir just over the hedge, now on private land adjacent to the park! As we looked down the slope we were looking down the new Deodar Cypress avenue that was planted in the 1990s with substantial young trees that required heavy support, and some early replacement planting. When you look at the picture you can see that cypress trees on the right hand side are going to be easily dominated by the boundary trees. This will have an impact on the long term viability of the cypresses on that side at least, and the balance of the avenue.

IMG 4462 New Cypress Avenue Dunorlan Park 2016-07-28

We walked back above the lake to part of the wonderful collection of oaks, limes and purple beeches that form the core of the surviving plantings from the 1860s – truly spectacular trees.

RIMG1838 Lime and Purple Beech by lake Dunorlan Park 15-07-2018

We finished our walk by checking out the amazing Indian Bean Tree in the Chairman’s garden before  calling in at the park café for a much-needed cold drink or ice-cream!

RIMG1842 Catalpa bignonioides Wildings Tunbridge Wells 15-07-2018 2

David Carey, Volunteer Tree Warden for Hadlow Parish.

The Eco-benefits of Trees in towns and cities, focussing on Ash Trees

We had a great walk in Canterbury this Sunday morning looking at the eco-benefits of trees in towns and cities, and focusing particularly on Ash, for the ASH Project. We saw native European or Common Ash trees, and variants such as the One-leaved Ash form and a grafted Weeping Ash tree, all sadly more or less already affected by Dieback.

There were many other outstanding trees in and around Westgate Gardens, including the amazing Oriental Plane Tree, Tulip trees, Lime trees, Beech trees, conifers, living fossils and modern street trees. Leading the walk were Tree Wardens Ros Rootes, Jim Sanders and David Carey, and we were able to use the new app Treezilla to calculate the eco-benefits in monetary terms of a typical ash tree in front of us in the gardens – over £200 just from that one medium Ash tree, year after year after year! Tree Wardens and others can use Treezilla to give a rough idea of the some of the eco-benefits and therefore the hidden value of trees in a street, park, housing development or village anywhere in Kent.

Eco-benefits include energy saving, fighting climate change, absorbing carbon dioxide, producing oxygen, trapping pollutants, benefiting human health, improving bio-diversity, supporting well-being and good mental health, as well as simply improving amenity and the quality of our visual environment!

It will be very sad indeed if we do lose the contribution to our towns and cities of the Ash Trees currently growing among us and helping to sustain us in so many different ways.

Here is a link to The ASH Project – a lasting legacy to the Ash Tree,

Innovative Natural Flood Management scheme opens in Kent – could other schemes could follow?

The opening of the Mill Farm “Natural Flood Prevention” wetland scheme was attended on the 18th May on behalf of the Kent Tree and Pond Wardens. This is a highly innovative and extremely exciting project, arising from very close co-operation between the landowner and many different agencies, working through the Kent County Council and the Environment Agency.

This is a farm scheme, sited between the rivers Teise and Beult, near Marden, designed to reduce (not eliminate) flood risk. It is a deep, relatively long and narrow, water feature carefully dug and sited to fill when local watercourse levels rise to “flood risk” level, thus threatening local villages, and then to empty gradually in a safe manner, largely into the River Beult, over the next few days/weeks. It is fulfilling the function that fields in a traditional flood plain would have done over winter periods in the past, but using a much smaller area of land, preventing damage to modern winter crops and local orchards.

This particular scheme also reduces silt input from flood waters into the Beult SSSI, a major biodiversity benefit for this highly sensitive catchment. Once the wetland is seeded and planted it is also likely to become an impressive biodiversity feature on its own account, including improving habitat for birds such as nightingales and turtle doves.

This is a ground-breaking pilot project in all senses, and other projects will hopefully follow in Kent, perhaps signalling part of the way forward for flood risk reduction in Kent – I am sure we all remember the floods in areas such as Yalding and Collier Street in the winter of 2013/2014.

If anyone, particular Pond Wardens, know of possible locations in Kent where other such schemes might work, it would be very interesting to discuss them further. In the longer term, funding may possibly be available for this type of scheme or others that might fit this purpose? Pond Wardens are individuals who may be in pole position to see opportunities such as these in their local areas to benefit their local communities as well as significantly improving their local natural environments. These are potentially very exciting opportunities!