Plans to plant a whopping 700,000 trees across Leicestershire – one for each resident - have received a welcome boost from the Forestry Commission which has handed over £216,000 from its Treescape fund.
Leicestershire County Council will use the cash to provide over 20,000 trees.
Half of the money will be used to buy and plant the trees with the remainder funding the vital ongoing care of the saplings for the first few years after planting.
This funding from the Forestry Commission is warmly welcomed and provides a huge boost to our pledge to plant a tree for each and every person in the county.
Trees support wildlife and play a major part in helping to combat climate change, as well as adding beauty to our surroundings. We’ve been delighted with the support our scheme has received from parish and district councils, as well as local residents and we are looking forward to see Leicestershire become greener as the project continues.Person:Councillor Blake Pain, cabinet member for the environment
In line with the county council’s tree policy, various native species will be planted between next month and February 2022. These will include Oak, Wild Cherry, Silver Birch; Field Maple and both Blackthorn and Hawthorn.
The trees are planted as ‘whips’ – being around two years old and between 40 to 60cm tall. These will then need close attention for the first three years while they become established; with many needing watering, fertiliser and weed control.
Leicestershire County Council’s tree planting drive will support its pledge to become a carbon neutral county by 2045, as trees and woodlands play an important part in cleaning up the environment; providing clean, air, improving soil quality and reducing flooding.
And it’s not just the environment which will benefit – trees add beauty to villages and towns and research shows that a walk among trees reduces stress and improves mental wellbeing.
In rural areas of the county, mostly native species will be planted; but in more urban spots, consideration is also given to brightening up the landscape with more colourful trees or those which produce berries.
The spacing of the trees is also important. On grass verges, they will be widely spaced to provide individual impact; but in areas where new woodland is being created, the planting will be denser – around two metres between each tree, enabling the plants to support each other as they grow.
Many areas of scrubland are also to be created or improved with the addition of blackthorn and hawthorn. Scrubland is densely planted, creating thickets which provide an ideal environment for wildlife to flourish.
This Saturday (November 27) marks the beginning of National Tree Week, the UK’s largest tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season.
The county council will be supporting Tree Week with a number of events, including a tree giveaway for local landowners and the planting of a tree at a Hinckley care home for the Queen’s Green Canopy by Vice Lord Lieutenant, Col Murray Colville.
Other Tree Week events will include Councillor Pain joining with the Chief Executive of the National Forest, John Everitt, to plant a tree at Martinshaw Primary School in Groby to celebrate the Tree Charter which the authority has signed up to in conjunction with the National Forest.
Throughout Tree Week, the county council will also be offering tips and advice on tree planting and tree care, via social media.
- Leicestershire is one of the least wooded areas of the country, currently around 6% woodland – well below the national average of 10%.
- The county council currently manages around 321,000 trees (including 404 hectares of woodland), but with diseases such as Ash Die Back placing more trees under threat, the authority’s strategy and action plan, adopted in May 2020, will see the number of trees across the county increase dramatically.
- Leicestershire County Council currently provides a free tree scheme for farmers and landowners and works closely with the Woodland Trust to offer tree packs for planting projects including the new hedgerows and the creation of new woodlands.