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Which trees should you plant in your garden

Posted on: May 4th, 2016

You may be lucky enough to have moved into a house with plenty of mature, healthy trees in the garden. But if you are considering planting a new tree, what tree should you choose and why?

Go native

The UK has many stunning native trees; trees that have grown here for thousands of years. So whilst you may be tempted to plant something tropical and ‘interesting’, remember that native trees are quite literally at home in Britain. And as such, not only are they are more likely to grow and thrive with the minimum of fuss, but they can also help native animals and insects survive.

English Oak

Huge, solid and beautiful – an English Oak is the most common species of tree in Britain. It will attract insects, which will then help to pollinate your garden’s other plants. The English Oak can also live for more than 500 years, so you’re really getting value for money!

The Oak’s soft leaves break down easily when it comes to autumn. These leaves then form a rich leaf mould at the base of the tree, which supports invertebrates. Old woodpecker holes become home for several british bat species, whilst small holes and crevices are ideal for certain types of nesting birds. It’s like a hotel in your garden!

Hawthorn

Known as the May tree, the Hawthorn has stunning white flowers that bloom every May. Common Hawthorn provides a support system for over 300 insects; it is food for caterpillars, its flowers provide pollen and nectar, and are also eaten by dormice, and its haws – rich in antioxidants – are eaten by migrating birds.

Silver Birch

Want to make a quick change to your garden? The Silver Birch is a fast growing tree with a shiny, silvery-white trunk – hence it is sure to make an impression on your outdoor space almost immediately.

Plus the Silver Birch tree has other uses – its timber can be used to smoke haddock and its sap can be made into wine!

Holly

There isn’t anything more quintessentially festive than a Holly tree. Animals will enjoy shelter and a plentiful supply of berries, and you’ll save a packet harvesting your own decorations at Christmas! Holly flowers also provide nectar and pollen.

Beech

You may immediately think of cheap furniture, but the Common Beech is a large, deciduous tree that is native to the UK and can live for hundreds of years. In fact, if coppiced, a Beech can survive for more than 1,000 years!

Mature trees can grow to a height of over 40 metres and due to its dense canopy, provides an important habitat for plants, animals, fungi and butterflies.

Alder

Alder trees grow quickly and thrive in damp soil, and attract birds and insects to your garden. In fact, Alder improves the fertility of the soil where it grows. This conical shaped tree can reach a height of 20 metres and lives for approximately 60 years.

Rowan

Do you have a problem with witches? Historically, the Rowan tree was planted outside houses to ward off these unwanted visitors! And even if you’re a non-believer, you’re sure to love this pretty and hardy tree with its bright red berries.

Hazel

Hazel is a deciduous broadleaf tree that is often coppiced, but if you leave it to grow, it can reach a height of 12 metres. You and your garden’s animals will love harvesting your hazel’s nuts in the winter. Plus the tree’s clusters of catkins will add colour and texture in your garden from mid-February.

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