12 Reasons to grow a tree

12 Reasons to grow a tree

Climate change is potentially catastrophic but it can be averted if enough of us plant a tree

This year, 2022, is the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, she has been on the throne for 70 years, and to commemorate this event she has initiated the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme where we are all encouraged to plant a tree. If you don’t have the space to plant one in your garden or a container there are plenty of public schemes where you go into the countryside and help plant up a community woodland. Small species can even be grown on an apartment balcony, just check it can take the weight of a large container, tree and wet compost. If you face south it can give you shade in a hot summer and lower the temperature.

Malus Tina

If you want to grow a tree in a container all you need is the correct sized container and good quality dedicated tree or peat-free multi-purpose compost. If the tree is still quite small plant it in a container a couple of sizes larger than the pot it comes in and if it is a large tree you will need a large pot, at least 18 x 18ins (45 x 45cm). Cover the hole in the bottom with a piece of broken pot to stop it becoming blocked with silt. Position the pot onto pot feet, bricks or stones which will allow the water to drain away. If you plant a small tree in a container which is too large you risk losing it in winter through it sitting in too much cold wet compost. 

Acer palmatum Atropurpureum
  1. They take in harmful carbon dioxide which is contributing to global warming and give out oxygen which is essential for life to exist.
  2. In an urban setting they can muffle noise and capture airborne toxins.
  3. Choose your species carefully and you can provide nectar for the insects in spring and fruit for the birds in autumn all from one tree and as a bonus they can have spectacularly coloured leaves in autumn. The ornamental rowans and crab apples are excellent at providing all these and are suitable for a small garden or container.
  4. They can provide a nesting site for the birds and act as a refuge from predators.
  5. They are a huge benefit to wildlife, as a home, food source or shelter. Many species benefit, from invertebrates and reptiles to birds and mammals. A mature oak tree can be host to around 280 species of invertebrates and about the same number of lichen species and sub-species.
  6. They can lower the temperature in an urban environment, essential if the predictions for rising temperatures are accurate.
  7. They can form part of your ‘5-a-day’ if you grow fruit trees. There are many varieties of fruit trees, many of them ideal for growing in a small garden or container. Family fruit trees are small container grown trees which have two or three complimentary varieties which pollinate each other on the same tree. If space is limited you can grow a small cordon or fan trained fruit tree which grows against the wall or a sturdy fence.
  8. They can shield your garden from the prying eyes of the neighbours, and they can form your own little bit of private jungle.
  9. You don’t have to grow a massive oak you can get small patio trees which have been grafted onto a dwarf rootstock so that they don’t get too large.
  10. They are an excellent learning resource for children to study the natural environment, how flower buds form, how photosynthesis works, how the fruit is formed and how to keep a plant healthy. They can also make artwork from the leaves and twigs and also draw the tree in all its seasons. 
  11. There is a lot of research done which proves that a connection with nature has positive benefits for our wellbeing so looking at a beautiful tree will lower your stress levels and enable you to cope a lot better.
  12. Finally, they make the ideal shady spot to sit out of the sun with a good book and while away a couple of hours. All you need is a comfy garden chair or lounger and a small side table to take your drink and book, leave the phone in the house and switch off from all the everyday bustle of the world.

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.