Leafless trees in the mist at sunrise, Surrey
© plainpicture/Design Pics/Charles Bowma
Celebrating our trees. Putting down roots on National Tree Week
Our misty homepage image celebrates National Tree Week here in the UK. Marking the start of the winter tree-planting season, the event was established in 1975 by The Tree Council, off the back of the successful ‘Plant a Tree in ‘73” campaign, that encouraged hundreds of thousands of people to get their spades out. It was a reaction to the landscape-changing effects of Dutch elm disease, which was killing millions of elm trees in Britain.
Dutch elm disease is still around - along with other threats like ash dieback and climate change – and National Tree Week is now firmly rooted in the national calendar. While tree cover in the UK may have increased since hitting a historic low of around 5% at the time of the First World War, only about 13% of our total land area is woodland cover – lower than many of our European neighbours.
With trees offering all kinds of benefits, including shelter for wildlife, combating soil erosion and flooding as well as absorbing carbon emissions, the more planted the merrier! While coronavirus restrictions mean many tree planting events can't take place this week, the Tree Council is running a programme of arts and cultural events online to help raise awareness and encourage our appreciation of trees as an important part of our landscape.