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Best trees for my garden

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How to Choose the Best Trees for Your Needs

As we have previously explored, there are many benefits to planting trees, from combating climate change to attracting wildlife and so much more besides. But what trees exactly should we be planting to meet specific goals? Let’s delve deeper into what trees are best for particular needs.

What are the best trees to absorb carbon?

Native species that live the longest, such as oak and maple, are known to have the best carbon dioxide storing capabilities according to the Woodland Trust. These are fine if you are happy for a substantially sized tree to grow in your garden. Oak trees can grow from 20 to 45 metres in height, and maple up to 20 metres.

For smaller spaces, go for goat willow, crab apple, hazel or blackthorn. All of these species have beautiful features. Goat willow produces gloriously fluffy catkins in early spring; crab apple blossoms beautifully in late spring, then produces edible fruits later in the year; hazel bears lovely catkins in the winter followed by ripe hazelnuts in autumn, and blackthorn blooms in early spring bringing a splash of joy after a long winter, with sloes following later in the year, ripe for transforming into all sorts of delights.

If you have a medium sized space then consider hawthorn (mayflower), holly, yew, elder or field maple. As the Tree Council suggests, it’s a good approach to ‘copy nature by planting trees that are already successful on or near the site’.

Best trees to absorb carbon

What are the best trees to reduce pollution?

The World Health Organization says that nine out of ten people breathe polluted air and that in the region of seven million deaths every year are down to bad air quality, which fuels the risk of strokes, lung cancer and heart disease. Breathing impure air has also been connected with immune system damage, as the body becomes inflamed in an attempt to battle impurities.

Trees act as a purification system for the earth. They absorb airborne chemicals and release oxygen. Every year, the forests of the world absorb as much as a third of global emissions. The leaves of the trees capture pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, ammonia and nitrogen oxides through their pores, filtering them out of the air. Trees also reduce the effects of greenhouse gases by trapping heat, limiting ground-level ozone levels and releasing oxygen. In city environments, trees play an even more important role, reducing levels of smog.

Certain tree species are naturally more inclined to reduce pollution than others.

Conifers for example, thanks to their needle shaped leaves with increased surface area, are known for trapping elevated levels of air pollution. Red Western Cedar is a good choice if you don’t want your garden, and view, quickly overcome by the fast growing Leylandii. Yew is another good choice, and it’s easy to keep trimmed too.

The London plane tree is renowned for its survival abilities. Anything that can handle the Industrial Revolution can tackle today’s emissions after all. London planes cleanse themselves by shedding pollutants through their bark, which peels off periodically leaving the attractive camouflage effect.

Best trees to reduce pollution

What are the best trees to combat road noise?

If you’re looking to create a sound barrier for your garden, go for evergreen shrubs, especially broadleaf evergreens rather than the needle-leaf species such as conifers.

The denser the branches and the lower the canopy, the greater the level of noise reduction you will enjoy. Juniper and holly bear low, thick branches and are excellent sound proofers.

You are best training your noise reducing trees into a hedge, spacing them so there are no gaps between the plants once they mature. Planting in layers will optimise your sound proofing.

Best trees to combat road noise

What are the ideal trees to attract wildlife?

In our guide to tree planting, we looked at various species of trees and how they benefit wildlife. From pollinator-attracting blossom to foliage that’s amber nectar to moths, and hips and fruits that feed all sorts of birds, not to mention shade and sanctity, trees are a true haven for all sorts of wildlife.

Any trees that produce blossom will be perfect if you are seeking to attract butterflies and bees. Look at rowan, blackthorn, hawthorn, dog rose, crab apple and cherry. Alder and hazel catkins are also excellent sources of pollen for bees.

For the birds, again go for alder, the seeds of which are a magnet for goldfinch, redpoll and siskin. Smaller birds also adore the seeds and insects hosted by the silver birch, and blackthorn provides a protective refuge for early nesters. The song thrush, blackbird, fieldfare and redwing are partial to the fruits of the crab apple tree, and the same gang together with waxwings are fans of dog rose hips. Attract migrating birds by planting hawthorn, they’ll love the hawberries which are rich in antioxidants. Rowan is a big pull for redstart, redwing, thrushes and blackbirds thanks to its brightly coloured berries.

On the subject of hawthorn, dormice love its blossom. Holly is valuable to hedgehogs, toads and smaller mammals which use the dried leaf litter in which to hibernate.

Best trees to attract wildlife

Need help with your trees?

From choosing and planting trees to caring for young and sapling trees and keeping them healthy and maintained whilst they grow, it’s always good to have some professional guidance.

The experts at TH Trees Ltd are here to help with a fully qualified and insured service covering all species and ages of trees, from the youngest right through to the most mature and established. For bespoke advice, you are welcome to get in touch.

Excellent job

I can thoroughly recommend TH Trees. Their professionalism and communication has always been paramount. The jobs undertaken carried out to my satisfaction. Above and beyond.

Thank you Jo for your kind review, it's always a pleasure to be of assistance with your trees.

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