Chalara dieback - Managing ash trees
We have been getting clients asking us about Chalara. We have not come across it ourselves yet, but here is some information, including videos on how to identify the disease and details of confirmed cases in new plantings and the wider environment.
Please have a look at www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara.
Your town needs more trees! - Trees in towns and cities help improve water quality and reduce flooding risk
Compelling new evidence for planting trees in our towns and cities to help manage water has been published by the Woodland Trust. The report, supported by the Royal Bank of Canada through the RBC Blue Water Project, was launched at a Trees in our Towns seminar at City Hall on 14 March.
The report contains amazing evidence about how tree planting can improve and protect the quality of water in urban areas by intercepting heavy rainfall, trapping pollutants, and reducing the risk of flooding by absorbing excess surface water. The report will be used as a tool for the Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s RE:LEAF programme which, in partnership with the Woodland Trust, works to increase tree canopy cover in the capital.
Under the Mayor more than 100,000 new trees have been planted since 2008. Ten thousand new street trees were planted across the capital in his last term and work has already begun to double that figure. In Croydon and in Barking and Dagenham new woodlands have been built as part of the London Ambassador Legacy programme, and 11,000 trees have been distributed to over 50 communities across the capital through the Woodland Trust community tree packs programme.
Matthew Pencharz, The Mayor’s Environment Advisor said: “Increasing green cover in the capital is a priority for the Mayor. Trees deliver a whole host of benefits to Londoners – not only do they help manage water but they also improve the look and feel of neighbourhoods, making the capital a more attractive place to live, work and invest in.”
What’s the problem?
Winter rainfall has increased in the UK over the last 40 years. Surface water flooding can be a real danger to people and property, and represents the most significant flood risk to UK households. Yet we’ve seen a decline in the number of trees and green spaces in urban areas, plus an increase in the amount of hard surfaces - roads, pavements, and paved gardens to create parking spaces – reducing the availability of porous surfaces, where rain water can infiltrate, and increasing the risks associated with surface water run off.
More frequent heavy rainfall, more hard surfaces and fewer trees all contribute to increasing flood risk, and a resulting decline in water quality.
The quality of water is reduced by pollutants entering water bodies such as streams, lakes and rivers. Pollution in urban areas comes from a range of sources including leaking oil , emissions, grease and other liquids from vehicles, plus chemicals and fertilisers from parks and gardens, silt and soil from the landscape of towns, discarded food waste, and animal faeces. Higher nitrate levels in water leads to increased algae growth, starving aquatic life of oxygen.
What can trees do about all this?
Preliminary research results from the University of Manchester indicate that trees can reduce runoff by as much as 80% compared to asphalt1. Trees and other green spaces intercept rain, reducing the volume and rate of runoff. The leaves, branches and trunks of trees slow the speed at which rain reaches the ground, with some rain evaporating into the atmosphere.
Trees planted as buffers to water courses reduce sedimentation and lower water temperatures, increasing the oxygen levels to the benefit of fish and other wildlife.
Recent years have also seen a decline in the numbers of trees planted in urban areas. When combined with a loss of trees planted during the Victorian era, this should send a warning signal about the future for trees in our towns and cities – especially when we also consider all the other benefits trees in urban areas bring.
Mike Townsend, Woodland Trust Conservation Advisor said: “Trees have the advantage of being able to deliver multiple benefits simultaneously, as well as reducing flood risk and improving water quality, they create beautiful areas where people want to live, work and visit, provide shelter and shade, fruits and nuts, produce oxygen and reduce carbon, and offer sustainable fuel and homes for wildlife.”
How can we fit more trees into urban areas?
For business and even individuals, simple changes such as installing water butts to capture water from roofs and gutters can help manage storm waters while tree planting in school grounds, especially around hard surfaced areas, reduces runoff while providing shade for children from UV radiation.
For more information and to download the full report, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/water
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