So firstly, why is it a good idea to plant trees during the winter months? During the winter, the tree will not be growing so it has plenty of time to bed in and for the roots to settle. It’s also going to be damp for much of the winter, so the tree has plenty of moisture before it wakes up in the spring.
In a residential garden, we don’t want to plant enormous specimens that will tower over the house within 15 years. We’re looking for a small tree that will be aesthetically pleasing during the different seasons, not need much maintenance at all, and will also benefit wildlife.
The field maple (Acer campestre) is one of my favourite broadleaf garden trees, which puts on a real autumn show. It provides a home for caterpillars and aphids, fights air pollution and is the UK’s only native maple tree. What’s not to love?
I also recommend the white-flowered native hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), which also ticks all the boxes – and can also be used as a hedging plant. In days gone by, people used to eat both the fresh leaves of the Hawthorn in spring and the berries in hedgerow jelly. This common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects, including many types of moths, and the berries are loved by birds.
City of trees
If you want to support the UK’s tree planting targets, take a look at City of Trees, which works across the Manchester city region, planting trees in urban settings, parks and nature reserves.
What am I reading?
This week I read this fascinating article about how the High Line in New York was created. This is relevant as the National Trust has put in a planning application to create a similar elevated garden area on a disused iron viaduct in Castlefield, Manchester city centre. There are also similar plans for a linear park on a former dock branch railway in Birkenhead, Wirral.
Read this article about the Highline, New York: