Sadly more trees appear to have been cut down than planted in recent years to make way for vineyard after vineyard. In urban areas, though, many trees are getting too big for their spaces as Blenheim’s sections get subdivided into ever smaller plots to cope with the demand.
As a result there are many grand old trees that get in the way and are no longer appropriate for the new land use. A large mature tree is extremely useful to insects and birds as it will produce so much more food than hundreds if not thousands of small plants and shrubs that are all too common.
Without big trees in our neighbourhood the ability for insect-born pollination decreases which in turn has a knock-on effect for all our own flowering and producing plants. Large trees are an essential part of our urban ecosystem. Not only do they do the obvious, such as providing shade and shelter and making neighbourhoods feel warm and welcoming, but they also clean the pollution from the air around us and make us all healthier and happier.
Being realistic, though, many of these big trees are not suitable for small gardens. They should be maintained in public spaces where that can be enjoyed by all. These behemoths of the modern garden world are to be protected and respected like our older generations who sacrificed so much. If only trees could talk.
Any new gardens should be planted with tree species that are appropriate for the site. If space allows please plant some small saplings that will have the chance of becoming grand specimens down the track.
Be wary of what happens underground. You can not see where the roots extend but walking down any number of footpaths will show you the power of roots. Proper species selection and position is crucial, as is ongoing maintenance and pruning. Root barrier protection can help prevent roots from developing properly and therefore reducing tree nutrient uptake slowing growth.
So what trees are ideal for town sections? I always suggest deciduous trees that offer shade in the summer but allow our Marlborough sun to warm the houses in winter. This helps minimise dampness in the garden and subsequently in the house. There may be some extra leaf collection in autumn but the ‘‘fall’’ colours are well worth the hassle. If I would pick some species it would be ones that reach about 4-5 metres tall and have a spreading habit – such as the fast-growing (Persian silk tree), tree),
(Indian bead (flowering cherry), (ornamental pear), (dog wood), and (hornbeam). These can all be pruned to a suitable habit and kept at the wanted size.
And by the way they all look fabulous!
Trees really get their best chance to shine when planted in parks and other wide open spaces, but they shouldn’t be overlooked for smaller sections. Deciduous trees are a good choice – they give necessary shade during the summer but let in light during winter.