Types of Trees and Habitats

Birmingham Trees for Life is involved in a variety of projects to enhance Birmingham’s parks and open spaces, involving different types of trees and habitats.

Trees are lost each year to disease, rot and urban development, so it is important to have a tree replacement programme, as well as a plan to create new woodlands. We have also replaced ancient hedgerows, which provide shelter and food for insects, small mammals and birds, as part of local historical and nature conservation projects.

We plant young saplings (known as ‘whips’), which are about 1-2 years old, older saplings (3-5 years old, known as ‘feathers’), larger 'standard' trees (8-12 years old), and sometimes, even more mature trees, which may have been growing for 15 years or more.  The advantage of this is that the young saplings are cheaper, and so can be planted in greater quantity to increase the number of trees and create future woodlands, whilst the larger standard trees create instant impact, which is important where trees have been lost.

We also usually aim to plant native varieties – trees that belong in Britain, as these are often more helpful to other wildlife such as insects and birds. Among the different types of trees we plant are flowering trees (such as Cherries) which are good for insects, trees that bear berries (eg. Rowan) which feed birdlife, fruit trees in orchards and community gardens in parks (special projects), and also native hedgerows (eg. blackthorn, hawthorn, holly) which help to provide habitats for small mammals such as hedgehogs.  BTFL has planted a number of community orchards with a range of local and heritage fruit tree varieties.

Sometimes we plant non-native species of tree, perhaps a specimen tree in a park which replaces a tree that was lost, or to increase the number and variety of trees of interest in a particular park.