The current tree planting season is about to come to an end, with thousands of trees being planted across the borough since November.
It’s also almost a year since Ealing Council’s biodiversity action plan (BAP) was put in place and, in that time, it has been working to ensure a brighter future for the borough’s nature and wildlife.
A critical part of that plan, and the council’s wider climate action strategy, is tree planting.
Trees are incredible – they have the power to absorb air pollution, support wildlife, cool pavements during heatwaves and help prevent flooding.
The main tree planting season runs from November to March, when conditions are most helpful. Planting over winter, when the earth is most likely to be moist, allows bare root trees the best chance to establish before the spring when their leaves will begin to develop.
And, by the end of March, an amazing 7,000 trees will have been planted across the borough in just five months. This is alongside ongoing work in local green spaces to enhance wildflower meadows, woodland and wetland areas – thereby helping to support the pollinators that are so vital to the local ecosystem.
The council plants a wide variety of tree species across the borough, from lime and oak, to cherry, maple, sorbus and apple. Regular inspection, maintenance and pruning is carried out where required by the council’s parks team on a three-year rotation.
The council’s park rangers are also working in close partnership with local volunteers from Friends of Horsenden Hill. Together, they look after a tree nursery which has been growing saplings and hedglings to plant around the borough.
Just the beginning
Leader of the council, Councillor Peter Mason, said: “Trees are a hugely important part of our Biodiversity Action Plan, and I am proud that we are beginning to see some real progress, with thousands of new trees planted over the last 12 months.
“But this is just the beginning – we will keep working to increase the number of trees in our borough, and to take broader action to tackle the climate crisis.”
Target of 50,000 new trees
Councillor Deirdre Costigan, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action, said: “Trees have so many environmental benefits, from cleaning our air and providing shade, to reducing flood risk and nurturing wildlife.
“That’s why we are working towards a bold target of planting 50,000 new trees by 2026 – which will contribute to our aim of ensuring a quarter of the entire borough will be under tree canopy by the end of the decade. This is a crucial part of our climate action strategy and our biodiversity action plan.
“Our green spaces and cemeteries support some of Ealing’s oldest and largest trees. These giants of our parks display the many benefits of trees on a grand scale, offering vast areas of shade, filters for air pollution, a valuable habitat for wildlife, and creating links between these green areas.
“But our street trees also do an important job of making our borough beautiful, lining our roads with colour when in bloom. Trees also provide a calmer environment, which aids people’s mental wellbeing.
“This all underlines why we are so committed to delivering one of the most ambitious tree planting programmes in London.”
Ealing was recognised last year with prestigious Tree City of the World status.
The international accolade, spanning 17 countries, is reserved for the most successful approaches to managing urban trees and woodland.
Also last year, the borough had its first ever Tree Festival, at Southall Park and Litten Nature Reserve in Greenford. It was done in partnership with the environmental charity Trees for Cities (TfC) and the Heathrow Community Trust.