Plant a tree still grows 40 years on

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Are you old enough to remember back then in ’73 (sounds like the beginning lyrics to a song), there was the first episodes of ‘Last of the summer wine’, Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark side of the Moon’ album, the Watergate scandal, Jackie Stewart was Grand Prix world champion, Noel Coward and Pablo Picasso died and also…don’t say you had forgotten?.. Yes, there was ‘Plant a Tree in ’73’ campaign. Not that I can confess to remembering any of these, not being old enough!…but this was the date The Tree Council was formed, to promote awareness and planting to improve the environment. This year, November 23rd to December 1 is designated ‘National Tree Week’- a celebration of everything we benefit from trees, from air purification, absorbing harmful Co2 in the atmosphere to trapping particulates in diesel fumes on their leaves. They provide a shelter belt against strong, cold winds and also, by choosing deciduous trees, can shelter from summer warmth and yet, when the leaves drop, will give you the benefit of winter sun to warm your house. How often do we hear people say, they have no room in the garden for trees - yet many of our hedgerow shrubs are precisely trees trimmed down. So why not grow a hedgerow harvest to the edges of your garden, that will benefit both yourself and wildlife - Apples, pears and cherries can be incorporated into this along with sloes, plums and hawthorn.

Sorbus berries can be used for roasts. Elder flowers for summer cordials and sorbets. The nuts, hazel (if your friendly local squirrel hasn’t already managed to plant a few there!), sloes, plums and hawthorns with raspberry, currants and gooseberries to the outer edge, will make a super productive hedge, with very little maintenance. Bare root hedging becomes available this month, and it is the cheapest way to make a sizeable length of hedge, for minimum outlay. So, mark a 2013 celebration with a tree and have something glorious and memorable to look back on, in the years to come…

Mark Curtis

Plant Area Manager, Paradise Park, Newhaven