National Tree Week

FPCR’s Arboricultural team found time amidst their busy schedule to celebrate National Tree Week. National Tree Week (24 November – 2 December) marks the start of the winter tree planting season and is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration! It was established by The Tree Council, one of the UK’s leading tree charities, in 1975 to drive national tree replanting following the outbreak of Dutch elm disease [1]. Today it is used as a great opportunity for communities to do something positive for their treescape, encourage people to plant more trees and to spread the word about the vast array of benefits trees have in our landscape. As a practice we are at the forefront of delivering landscape led masterplans and green infrastructure strategies, that includes the provision of new tree planting. Find out more about our projects.

To spark some discussion, we asked some of our arboriculture team to share their favourite trees and why they admire them so much, here is what they had to say:

Adam Walker (Assistant Arboricultural Consultant)
Favourite Tree: Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Reason: “Subjectively it has a very nice form. The large, bright green pinnate leaves are particularly attractive on sunny days causing the leaves to shimmer in the light. A beautiful large specimen grew in my grandparent’s garden in Derbyshire. I also like the mysticism and folklore surrounding black walnut trees. Legend has it that witches would worship Satan under a black walnut tree in the town of Benevento, Italy. Once word spread that cults were gathering to perform rituals beneath the tree, the Pope at the time ordered for the tree to be felled. It was felled but immediately after being felled a new tree of the same stature appeared, perhaps restored by the Devil or by the witches themselves!”

Callum Throw (Principal Arboricultural Consultant)
Favourite Tree: English oak (Quercus robur)

Reason: “My favourite tree has to be the humble English oak, I can’t think of any other tree, particularly native, which compares. It is so archetypal of the English countryside and a veteran parkland oak standing within a historic landscape on a foggy autumn morning is a true spectacle. The oak is our national tree and throughout history has been held in such high regard, particularly as a symbol for strength due to its large crown framework supporting heavy limbs supported by a strong upright stem, a symbol for longevity capable of growing gracefully for hundreds of years, and survival. My Dad used to say to me as a child growing up ‘from small acorns mighty oaks grow’ and this couldn’t be more true. So much of my childhood was spent climbing these magnificent trees, building tree houses and rope swings. I like to think that association has somewhat influenced my chosen profession. Perhaps without the humble oak I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Edward Cole (Senior Arboricultural Consultant)
Favourite Tree: Swedish birch or Ornäs birch (Betula pendula ‘Laciniata’)

Reason: “This tree reminds me of my college exchange to Sweden where I saw several specimens of this tree, being the national tree of Sweden. I also saw a moose when in Sweden and this tree reminds me of that moment, maybe we could celebrate national moose day too?”

Elva Preston (Assistant Arboricultural Consultant)
Favourite Tree: Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Reason: “This tree is the world’s largest tree making it a truly spectacular specimen in height alone. I find it astounding how they can pull water to the top of their canopies, and they are so tall in their native home of California they create their own fog. They also have other awesome features, like fire resistant bark which is a stunning colour and they support epiphytes hundreds of feet above the ground, creating a sort of aerial forest!”

Helen Kirk (Associate Director)
Favourite Tree: Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Reason: “I have always loved this tree. For me, its winning attribute is the amazing display of autumn colours it produces and being such a large tree upon maturity, it stands majestic and proud. An absolute stunner every autumn especially on bright, sunny days when the brilliant oranges and yellows glow against the blue sky. I cannot wait to see it each year!”

Suzanne Mansfield (Director)
Favourite Tree: English Yew (Taxus baccata)

Reason: “My favourite tree has to be the mystical English yew. Native and biologically impressive, humans have had a long history with this tree, a history as long as the tree can live itself as they stand for thousands of years, making them the ultimate symbol of longevity and immortality. As well as its historical importance, this tree has an intriguing spiritual side which has always fascinated me, long being associated with churchyards to protect and purify the dead.”

Tom Bennett (Principal Arboricultural Consultant)
Favourite Tree: Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Reason: “As far as mature trees go, beech trees have always amazed me with the sheer size of stems and branches they produce, even within the upper extents of the tree canopy. There is something impressive about being attached to a limb in excess of 400cm diameter at 18m off the ground.”

Images sourced from: under a Creative Commons Licence.