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Plant trees to future-proof against disease

21 November 2012
Plant trees to future-proof against disease

To boost the UK tree population and future-proof against the spread of disease, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is calling on the public to plant a diversity of trees in their local area for RHS Dig Together Day (24–25 November).

Throughout November, garden societies affiliated with the RHS, of which there are nearly 3,000, have been holding tree-planting events across the UK to promote the environmental benefits of trees in our neighbourhoods, towns and cities. Events range from large-scale projects such as the planting of 200,000 trees in Immingham, Lincolnshire to smaller activities like that in Jersey where local schools planted three oak saplings to replace a felled tree.

Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticultural Advisor, says: “We can all help to keep our towns and cities green and healthy by planting trees. The outbreak of ash dieback is probably going to be devastating but it is important to retain ash trees for as long as we can. We thoroughly recommend in areas that are unplanted, to plant a diversity of trees to ensure future-proof against the spread of diseases. Many thousands of native saplings, from hawthorn to field maple, have already been planted by our affiliated gardening societies this month, but we’re now urging the British public to get involved. Trees are so important for biodiversity, flood prevention, energy saving and health and wellbeing, especially in cities where there is a shortage of tree cover in public places.”

RHS Dig Together Day 2012, an annual celebration of the work of the UK’s gardening clubs and societies, will this year coincide with National Tree Week (24 November – 2 December), the festival that is organised by The Tree Council every year to mark the launch of the winter tree-planting season. RHS Dig Together Day will also reinforce the messages of Defra’s Big Tree Plant. Last year, one RHS initiative alone saw 84,000 trees planted across Britain.

Pauline Buchanan Black, Director-General of The Tree Council and Chair Defra’s Big Tree Plant Partnership Board, says “Anyone with land of their own, whether a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference to their view by adding a tree. This year, though, RHS Dig Together Day and National Tree Week carry particular significance as we look for ways to minimise the impact of ash dieback and choose trees that are right for the places where they are planted. Not since Dutch elm disease has there been the same urgency to safeguard the view for future generations”

RHS research shows that the planting of trees helps cool the air in our towns and cities, combating dangerous temperatures caused by the urban-heat island affect. They also intercept intense rain, slowing runoff and so reducing the pressure on urban drains and increase our health and overall wellbeing. Trees are also a haven for wildlife so vital for biodiversity.*

For details of RHS Dig Together Day events being held across the country visit:
www.rhs.org.uk/digtogetherday

To get involved, find your local gardening group by visiting:
www.rhs.org.uk/getinvolved