This week it’s National Tree Week, the UK’s largest tree celebration. It was first established in 1975 and is timed to mark the beginning of tree planting season and to encourage the nation to plant trees. Trees are vital to tackling climate change and provide important sources of food and shelter for wildlife, as well as bringing mental health benefits to people too.
This week Countryfile has announced its plans to get the nation planting 750,00 new trees across Britain, one for every child who started school this year. The government is also aiming to put tree planting central to its environmental plans, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the intention to plant 30,000 hectares of trees every year. Loss of trees is a continuing trend in Britain, with 1,000 irreplaceable ancient woods being threatened by development over the last 10 years, according to the Woodland Trust. Deadly tree diseases and pests, such as ash dieback, have also had a huge impact on the number of trees in the country.
To mark National Tree Week we’ve asked a selection of horticultural experts, garden writers and editors which is their favourite tree, from their own personal individual tree to the one they always swear by as an excellent planting option. Discover them below.
Our favourite trees
Metasequoia glyptostroboides, the dawn redwood
This tree is one of the most versatile, beautiful and charismatic deciduous conifers from China that you can ever plant in the garden and it will grow in most acid or alkaline soils providing they are well drained. They make the perfect solitary specimen in a lawn or a border, or in a group beside water for their reflection on a sunny autumnal or summers day. The crown is a perfect pyramidal shape with fine, lime green linear needles which turn copper-brown in autumn before dropping them. The trunk is one of the many ornamental attributes, flared at the base and deeply fluted with reddish-brown stringy bark. Tony Kirkham, head of the arboretum, gardens and horticultural services at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Fagus sylvatica, the beech
In these days when global warming is an ever-present reality we need as many trees planted as can be humanly possible. The beech tree has always been my favourite native tree. There is something about its smooth grey trunk in winter, the soft pale green foliage as it emerges in spring and the tempting awkwardness of prizing out those delicious edible little nutlets in the autumn that gives me so much pleasure. Dr Jamie Compton, Gardens Illustrated‘s botanical adviser
Betula pendula, silver birch