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 to plant additional trees. 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, and planted fruit trees in community orchards.
Young trees called saplings (also known as ‘whips’) can be planted to create woodlands. These whips are about 1-2 years old, larger ‘standard’ trees (8-12 years old), and sometimes, even more mature trees, which may have been growing for 15 years or more. 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.
Through the Trees for Life Campaign the Birmingham Civic Society usually aim to fund the planting of 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 to create community orchards in parks (good for pollinating insects and people!), and also native hedgerows (eg. blackthorn, hawthorn, holly) which help to provide habitats for small mammals such as hedgehogs.
The BTFL project planted a number of small orchards with a range of local and heritage fruit tree varieties.
Sometimes non-native species of tree are planted, 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.