PLANNING ISSUES: TREES IN URBAN SPACES
There aren't many places suited to planting trees along Greenstreet because of pavement widths, but how much better would our lives be if trees were planted where ever it is possible? I was very sorry to see the brainchild of Councillor John Disney, "Greening of Greenstreet", abandoned when he passed away.
I am a fully paid-up member of the Kent Men of the Trees (KMOTT), so I love and promote trees where I can and want to see them planted in the places we live - gardens, roadsides, green spaces, public spaces.
Here is a Woodland Trust article in their (September 2019) magazine, describing the importance of fungi to successful woods and forests - in Kent, they name Ashen Bank Wood, just west of Strood. Read the article.
Jack of All Trades - Drought Tollerant Trees. Kent already experiences near-desert conditions much of the year and we face a future in which existing weather patterns will become more disruptive and extreme. So, I have researched a 'short list' of trees that are tollerant of many soil-types and will tollerate dry periods. This list gets much longer if I include trees that are a bit fussy about (e.g.) soil or air pollution.
However, remember that saplings need special care to aid their healthy root systems in the first three years or so. To help this process, when planting trees there are a couple of tips:-
- Plant into a square hole - encourages root penetration and spread;
- Include watering tubes reaching to the bottom of the hole - to prevent roots staying close to the surface if you are watering the sapling, where they will be weaker against winds; and
- Scatter mycorrhizal fungi into the bottom of the hole - a good idea for shrubs too. Non-branded fungi are cheaper and do the job perfectly well.
I have a collection of reference books on different aspects of living with trees - choosing, pruning, feeding, cropping, partnering with other trees, shrubs and hedges, diseases and seasonal caring. But there are many good on-line resources that are definitely worth visiting. Originally designed to help planners and environmental bodies. But, frankly, they are a very good place to start your conversations about which trees are suited to your spaces.
To start with, some while ago I built an identification web-page around the Millennium Hedge in Cambridge Lane that includes a very large variety of trees and shrub/hedging plants. The images include leaves, flowers, fruits/seeds, twigs and bark.
My shortlist of on-line resources for choosing trees for urban (or any) planting now stands at:-
LEADER OF THE PACK
- www.tdag.org.uk - "The Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) is a world first"
Guides and Resources include:-
- Species Selection for Green Infrastructure (Two downloads: TDAG Trees species Guide PDF and an Excel Sheet) - www.tdag.org.uk/species-selection-for-green-infrastructure.html
- This PDF is 375-pages and stuffed full of amazingly helpful suggestions. For example: “Summary of tree species that can grow successfully in early successional pioneer growing condition and late successional condition.” They listed 160 species and varieties with that target in mind - plain English, these are trees that are often the first to establish on wasteland or woodland spread or filling in spaces created by felling.
- Another PDF that is particularly useful for Greenstreet/Teynham conditions – “First steps in Urban Air Quality" PDF. http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/3069/1/Ferranti_etal_2019_FirstStepsAQ.pdf
Also useful to consider in the Greenstreet/Teynham environment - "Trees in Hard Landscapes" ...www.tdag.org.uk/uploads/4/2/8/0/4280686/tdag_trees-in-hard-landscapes_september_2014_colour.pdf
............. you also find - First Steps in Valuing Trees and Green Infrastructure (PDF) - First Steps in Urban Air Quality - Trees in Hard Landscapes - Trees in the Townscape - The Canopy - No Trees, No Future....etc The choices offered include guidance on height and spread of your potential choices. Be considerate of others.
- Urban Tree Manual https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/urban-tree-manual/ - This Manual focuses on how to make a rational decision about planting trees but doesn’t go so far as to list trees as examples. Perhaps best read alongside the TDAG species guide (above). Many links to other bodies to help out.
- www.trees.org.uk - The Arboricultural Association – wide-ranging focus.
- "Help and Advice" includes: Benefits of Trees - Biosecurity Guidance - Help for Tree Owners - Latest News - Pests and Diseases. Guides to:- Tree Pruning - Trees and the Law - Trees Surgeons and Tree Advisors - Tree Selection, Planting and Maintenance (useful short four-page guide PDF) - Trees and Wildlife - Construction and Trees
- iTree Project - began in America but is being developed to be more representative of native/European species. This tool allows you to set your location as part of the hunt for a 'suitable' tree. One early specification is maximum height (which is important in small/enclosed spaces).
www.ltoa.org.uk – London Tree Officers Association
A very interesting site for Tree Officers (explains the monetary value of trees), management and study – e.g. tree canopy calculation, disease, damage, etc.
www.charteredforesters.org - Institute of Chartered Foresters.
- A huge number of resources fit for summary or links through Arbor! Quite specialised and international in flavour. Also places emphasis on the future supply of arborists;
- Links to data about Canopy cover (Forestry Commission and all) https://www.charteredforesters.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/FR-FC-TreeCanopyData-leaflet.pdf
www.nato.org.uk – National Association of Tree Officers (Who knew that trees are the future of warfare?) Launched 2018. Still in its nappies - I just liked the acronym.
www.mtoa.co.uk - The Municipal Tree Officers Association - "The Voice of Municipal Arboriculture." A bit ‘functional’ – not inspirational.
- Dialogue relies on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TreeOfficers/ which you must join if you want to get maximum value. I haven't bothered.
www.treecouncil.org.uk – The Tree Council - which is a Campaigning organisation. Loads of ‘think pieces.’ Quite a focus on hedges but also found a link to Tree Hugger: https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/beat-the-heat-5-amazing-benefits-urban-trees.html
www.treesforcities.org – Trees for Cities (as it says on the tin!)
- Campaigning for general planting but doesn't offer any guidance on choice. Its message is pretty much “more is better”. Not a lot of use in my book.