A matter of life or death?
It may be possible to kill with kindness, but The Tree Council is more concerned about trees that will be killed by lack of care. Thousands of trees planted across the UK last year could have no future if they are neglected in the coming months; the launch of the Tree Council’s Tree Care Campaign on 21st March is a clarion call to action.
The mortality rate for newly planted trees in public spaces and highways is just below 25% - that’s one tree in four, condemned before it reaches maturity (Trees in Towns II; 2008). Unsurprisingly, research has shown that local authority areas where highway trees are given better levels of systematic care have lower mortality rates. However, damage caused by careless use of equipment such as strimmers is still contributing to the untimely destruction of unacceptable numbers of newly planted urban street trees.
What is just as alarming is the cost to communities of young trees lost through lack of care – something that The Tree Council believes is at risk of increasing as budgets shrink. This is likely to contribute to a rise in the already unacceptable tree mortality rates. Worryingly, 64% of urban trees showed evidence of little or no care at all. With just modest levels of thought and attention from communities, this could easily be turned around and ensure that we all benefit from the many advantages that trees in towns bring.
“Many of The Tree Council’s volunteer Tree Wardens are involved in fundraising and planting street trees across the UK and the aim of The Big Tree Plant is to put a million more trees in communities in the next four planting seasons. Without proper aftercare, up to 25% may be lost” said Pauline Buchanan Black, Tree Council Director-General. “But anyone can be vigilant for signs of damage to trees near their homes and, if you have trees of your own, now is also the time to administer some basic care so that they have the best chance of a healthy future.”
“Our Tree Wardens in Plymouth recently planted 25 street trees as part of The Big Tree Plant; they are replacing many that are dead or dying as a result of strimmer damage” added Margaret Lipscombe, Director of Urban Programmes at The Tree Council. “Visually check trees in your street if you live in towns, and out on walks in the country, and let the council or landowner know if they aren’t coming into leaf or if you can see other significant problems”.
Please go to our Tree Care Campaign pages for more information or download the press release below.