Trees in a changing climate

Fri, Mar 25, 2011

Climate Change, Trees


Today I witnessed the death of a beautiful tree in a neighbours garden. At around 8.30am three beefy tree surgeons arrived and started hacking at an amazing old tree where many local birds regularly sit and nest .By 2pm there was nothing left of 40 years of growth which had been home for many small creatures.

Cutting down trees in my opinion should not be allowed unless they are dead or threaten to hurt someone.I urge everyone to plant trees in their own gardens and manage the ones they already own with respect to climate change.

There is now a “Right Place Right Tree” approach to tree planting in London.

If you are thinking about planting a tree within your own property, either in the front or back garden do consider these points :

  • Check the soil conditions so you select a tree that will do well in the conditions present.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient space for the tree to grow, both for its branches and also its roots underground.
  • Consider the long-term management of the tree.
  • Are you likely to need to have it pruned it on a regular basis?
  • Are you prepared to fund this regular pruning?
  • If you are on clay soil, consider the proximity of adjacent buildings and structures, yours’ and also your neighbour’s.
  • Avoid planting your tree where it may interfere negatively with other plants and habitats (garden ponds, flower-beds, wildflower areas etc.) in yours’ or your neighbour’s garden.
  • Be sympathetic to the existing character of the area where you live.
  • Consider the overall size of your garden, is it small, medium or large?

Examples of trees suitable for a small garden could be:

Paperbark maple
Strawberry tree
Paper mulberry
Common hazel
Common holly
Bay laurel
Mongolian Lime

Examples of trees suitable for a medium to large garden could be:

Box elder
Sweet Buckeye
Red horse-chestnut
Indian horse chestnut
Common hornbeam
Turkish hazel
Oriental beech
Small leaved lime

Examples of trees suitable for a very large garden could be:

Common horse-chestnut
Sweet chestnut
Atlas cedar
Common beech
Common Ash
Tulip tree
Scots pine
London plane
Common oak
Common lime

Tree planting has been shown to be one element of an adaptation strategy for reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect. One of the main reasons for providing this tree planting advice is so that gardeners can begin to adapt to the expected increases in day and night-time temperatures associated with the impacts of climate change in the future.

When choosing the tree for your garden, consider the tree’s potential for providing much needed shade on very hot summer days or for shading your property from excessive direct sunlight during the height of summer.

Choosing a deciduous tree in such a location would ensure that winter sunshine was not restricted when needed during short winter days. The tree could also be sensitively pruned when required, an option not usually available for most evergreen or coniferous trees.

Most local authority tree officers responsible for trees on private land can provide helpful advice and information. In London you can obtain contact details for your local tree officer through the London Tree Officers Association website ( or by contacting your local authority directly

This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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