So much more than beautiful, living things

Need for trees: The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe

Need for trees: The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe

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Plant a tree in ’73; plant some more in ’74. That’s a long time ago, but for the past 40 years, the British have been busy planting trees – and even busier chopping them down.

And despite the efforts put into creating the Millennium Forest, we still need more trees. Not just the odd sapling or, but millions spread across the land.

At the moment, woodland cover in this country is less than 15 per cent.

That’s quite an increase since 1980 when it was only just over nine per cent, but the UK is still one of the least-wooded countries in Europe and we all need to do something about it.

Thankfully, more and more individuals are joining the cause – many trees are being planted to preserve the memory of people who have passed away; many more and being planted to celebrate births and marriages.

The latter has become something of a trend with happy couples exchanging rings and then popping out into the garden of the hotel or country house where the reception is being held – and planting a tree garlanded with a record of their names and the date of their marriage.

Perhaps when children arrive, a little sapling or two will be added. If it all ends in divorce, then the tree can become firewood...

But you don’t have to die, get married or have kids to plant a tree.

If you have the space (and it needn’t be a lot) and have been dithering about how to fill it, consider a tree. There are so many varieties, from small to gigantic, wide to model stick slim, evergreen, deciduous, floriferous, quick growing, slow growing, that the only problem is being spoiled for choice.

And if you haven’t got the garden or the space, you may be able to get permission (get it in writing) to plant a tree or trees on village greens, school grounds, city farms and road verges, in places where the trees will hide ugly views, or in the countryside.

As autumn approaches (yes, it’s on its way) – the best time to plant trees because the soil is still warm from summer – think about it. Trees aren’t just beautiful, living things; they are valuable in many other ways: from improving the quality of our lives, to moderating the climate and providing habitats for wildlife.

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