Promise of trees. By Weston Tree and Planting Group Member Peter Archer
Tender in youth, they reach up with the promise of growth. Roots form,
binding the soil and bringing together those who look on.
At first glance, trees provide a welcome detour in a townscape dominated
by bricks and stone and cars. But, from the beginning, they have a
calming presence and soon display their full natural beauty.
Venerated and through time bestowed with mystical properties, trees are
now praised as “miracle machines” in the long overdue fight back against
climate change. They lock up and store harmful carbon, while removing
pollution, improving air quality and producing the oxygen we breathe.
However, they have much more to offer. Increasingly, we are realising
that planting a tree not only nurtures the environment, it cultivates a
sense of community and feeling of belonging which many of us surely
Caring for newly planted trees – watering and protecting them from
vandals – promotes togetherness and is a shared purpose. Simply planting
or adopting a tree empowers the community. It becomes a community-led
project, bonding neighbours who may otherwise not get to know each
Taking possession and responsibility for a tree in your neighbourhood is
about standing up for community and what belongs to us all.
Sadly, vulnerable saplings are sometimes vandalised by the disaffected.
Such seemingly wanton damage evokes rage and disbelief. But emotions
must be contained and energy channelled into building a greater sense of
Remember, when we harm a tree, we harm ourselves.
Planting trees is an important part of place-making. It enhances
neighbourhoods and makes your street a nicer – and better – place to
Trees lining a street improve the appearance of housing and can boost
property values. Also, motorists tend to reduce speed in tree-lined
streets, which muffle traffic noise.
Urban architecture in shopping areas and business parks is softened by
trees, which lift the spirits and enhance an otherwise everyday
experience. People prefer working and shopping in areas planted with
trees, so they work more productively or shop for longer, boosting
Shop staff and business owners can be enlisted to adopt or sponsor a
tree, widening and strengthening community involvement.
By encouraging civic pride, tree-planting can have knock-on effects. For
example, it can reduce littering, or result in litter-picking, as
residents care more for their surroundings. Better interaction with
neighbours can also raise mutual respect and improve relationships.
As trees mature they attract wildlife. They provide a habitat for birds,
insects and squirrels, restoring nature and bringing a little of the
countryside into town.
Trees make us feel good. Even if we are not consciously aware of it,
they improve emotional wellbeing, as well as physical health. Chemicals
are emitted that reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve
And if we feel good, we can enjoy our surroundings and celebrate being
part of a caring community.
Planting a tree not only nurtures the environment, it cultivates a sense