National Tree Week – Saturday 24th November–Sunday 2nd December
National Tree Week is the UK's largest tree celebration, marking the start of the bare-root tree planting season.
The campaign has its roots in the national response to the Dutch elm disease crisis of the 1960s, which wiped out more than 20 million of our most significant landscape trees. Communities across the UK answered the call to help replenish their depleted treescapes by taking part in the groundbreaking 'Plant a Tree in '73' initiative. The Tree Council was launched following the campaign's success and the first ever National Tree Week took place in 1975, becoming the annual celebration to raise awareness and appreciation of trees, encouraging tree planting nationwide every year since.
Forty-three years on and we are once again facing a major threat to our trees in the form of ash dieback and other devastating tree diseases. It is estimated that there are over 60 million ash trees outside woodlands in the UK and only a small percentage of UK ash trees will be tolerant to the disease. To stem the damage to our landscapes and neighbourhoods, it is essential that we grow more trees than ever in our parks, hedges, streets, woods and green spaces. Ambitious tree planting targets have been included in the government's 25-year environment plan and the recently appointed Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley, is determined to support organisations across the country to make this happen.
This year's National Tree Week will see organisations, professionals, schools and volunteer Tree Warden groups from across the country supporting the initiative and bringing communities together to do something positive in their neighbourhood. In the words of Tree Council CEO Sara Lorn:
“Trees offer a glimpse into history and hope for the future. They strengthen communities and contribute to their wellbeing. That's why it's vital for everyone to keep planting trees.”
The week's celebrations will start with the Woodland Trust holding its first ever Tree Charter Day and will close with the biggest ever tree planting weekend in London to help make London a National Park City. Scotland too is hosting its inaugural Scottish Tree Festival. All around the UK, people are branching out and showing their appreciation for our remarkable trees.
Crucially, many individuals are taking action locally, from a passionate young Suffolk farmer planting more than 2,500 trees on his 18 acres with the help of local schoolchildren and their families, to a group of Hampshire Tree Wardens hosting a tree planting day in a local park to raise awareness of the importance of trees for crops, fuel, wildlife, fruit, biodiversity and of course the enjoyment of future generations.
If you feel inspired to get involved in National Tree Week, details can be found on The Tree Council's interactive 'Near You' map, while tips for hosting an event and a downloadable poster to help promote it are also available via the website: www.treecouncil.org.uk.
Article taken from Issue 183 of The ARB Magazine. Members can view their copy here.