Trees please

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - LANDSCAPING -

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!

Photo: FAIR­FAX NZ

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.

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