June 2023

A great way to improve our environment is to plant trees - they provide for wildlife, clean our air and water, help reduce flooding, look beautiful through the seasons, and make our towns, villages and gardens cooler in the heat of summer.

Why plant trees?

When we plant trees, it will take 20-50 years before they really start delivering their benefits, and a 100 years before they are big enough to provide their true potential. This means two things:

  • The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now, so let’s crack on! (All credit to the North Cave Parish Council for planning and planting the new trees along Newport Road.)
  • Mature trees should always be valued and protected. As we have said before, it only takes somebody with a chainsaw an hour to destroy the growth and value of a mature tree that has taken 100 years to achieve its size. And replacement planting can’t come close to actually replacing the functions that are lost when a mature tree is felled or heavily cut back. Of course, “right tree, right place” is an important guide to keep in mind when planting, but some people are far too ready to see trees cut back or removed altogether, when there is no need - and a when there is a great deal to be lost.

A view across the West Wolds landscape near Drewton.
A view across the West Wolds landscape near Drewton.

Where can you go for help planting trees?

If tree planting could help to reduce flooding or improve water quality, you can of course talk to West Wolds Slow The Flow. We have created an ‘Introduction to Natural Flood Management’ (link at the top of this page) which explains the ways that woodlands and hedgerows can help.

Humber Forest - 'one-stop-shop'

One of WWSTF’s partners is the wonderful team at the Humber Forest, who can provide an enormous range of help to landowners. They pride themselves on being a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all large-scale and community tree planting needs. They team up with the Woodland Trust and the Forestry Commission, reviewing all inquiries and directing them to the planting schemes which are best suited to the landowner’s needs.

What has struck us, over recent years of meeting with the Humber Forest team, is just how marvellous their offer now is. It used to be that if you wanted to plant an area with trees, you had to apply for woodland grants to the Forestry Commission, which were, quite frankly, hard work, didn’t cover the full cost of planting, and had a lot of red-tape and long-term obligations.

The offer from the Humber Forest is essentially this: if you have an idea that you would like to plant trees, they will come and talk to you, find out the best scheme to support you, deal with any technical checks (ecology, archaeology, planning), provide suggestions as to the best species, pay for the planting AND pay for five years of maintenance - which is all that should be needed to establish a young, thriving woodland. This is an amazing service and they are lovely, friendly people - if a bit over-worked at the moment!

A view of the Humber Bridge, showing tree cover in surrounding countryside
A view of the Humber Bridge, showing tree cover in surrounding countryside

Think before you plant!

Only one warning from WWSTF (which we have shared with Humber Forest). Once you plant a tree, you fix the ground level around it, so can’t later lower that area to store or shift storm water. Trees and water management go together brilliantly - but it needs to be thought about before they are planted! As ever - talk to us, we’re friendly too!