One of the number one strategies for fighting climate change is to plant trees. Lots of trees.
If you own properties with gardens you can help. But is it worth doing?
In a recent article in the Guardian John Tucker, director of woodland outreach at the Woodland Trust said
One individual tree might not make a difference but if 10m people put one tree in, that would,
So that’s a ‘yes’ then. Tucker went on to say
If people feel they want to do something, then planting a tree in the right place is a good thing to do … Get trees that are produced from seed that is sourced from the UK and grown in the UK. We want to avoid encouraging people to buy trees that have been imported because that brings with it a risk of disease.
What sort of trees should you plant?
You need to be careful about the trees that you plant. A large tree two foot from the house wall is going to be a bad idea as it could cause serious damage or even threaten the foundations
However, there are plenty of small low maintenance trees you could plant.
Maybe a fruit free? Or several (as you often need at least two for pollination). The tenants would then have the extra bonus of the fruit – or if they do not want it, you could come round and harvest it for yourself (make sure you have a suitable clause in your tenancy agreement) or just leave it for the birds.
A nice hedge can also look good, although it will need regular cutting back. However, if the tenants are unwilling to do this you can easily go round and do this yourself (or employ someone to do it for you) – this will also give you an opportunity to do a visual inspection of the outside of the property and check that it is in order.
If trees are out of the question you may perhaps want to consider bamboo. This is fast-growing, attractive and soaks up a lot of carbon. Although it can get out of hand if you don’t keep it under control.
Where can you get them?
Your local garden centre of course, but you might also want to consider buying your trees from the Woodland Trust online shop. You can get packs of trees suitable for urban gardens – and they also do packs of hedging plants.
As they are the tree experts their trees are probably reliable and free from disease. Plus buying from them will help support their work.
Trees for Cities is another organisation you may want to have a look at and maybe get involved with.
Your tenancy agreement
Here are two clauses you can use in your tenancy agreement to provide for access for your gardener.
The first one is for access for a gardener twice a year just to prune the trees and shrubs:
You will allow access to a gardener chosen by us, to prune and maintain the trees and larger shrubs in the garden, upon our giving not less than 24 hours notice in writing. The gardener will require access not more than twice in any one year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, and the gardener’s costs will be paid for by us.
The second clause can be used if you want your gardener to have more regular access:
You will allow access to a gardener chosen by us, to maintain the garden once every two weeks, at mutually convenient times to be agreed between us. The gardener’s costs will be paid for by us.
Even if they were not so good for the environment, trees are good things to have. They are beautiful and will enhance the appearance of your property while being relatively low maintenance.
And, if all landlords plant at least one tree in every one of their property gardens – this could make a real difference.