Using British Trees is Best
In the same way that the Coronavirus pandemic has been sweeping the country recently, our tree population is also in peril as a result of pandemics introduced from abroad. Almost twenty serious tree diseases have arrived in the UK since 1990. Most of these are now having a significant impact on our tree and plant population.
The Woodland Trust has reported that trees in the UK are being threatened with foreign diseases caused by a huge increase in low cost imported trees. Sourced from abroad, particularly from Southern Europe where they can be grown faster, thanks to the climate, and so cheaper, these trees may save money but there is a big long-term cost.
Between 2010 and 2012, the UK imported over one million ash trees. The Dieback disease is thought to have arrived in this way and is now expected to eventually kill over 100 million ash trees in the UK. The importation was banned in October 2012, but it was too late and the clean-up cost is now estimated to be over £15 billion.
In a similar situation, in 2019 Processionary Moth, which not only damages oak trees but is also harmful to human health, was also missed and imported more than 70 times into the UK. In addition, a new tree disease called Phytophthora Pluvialis, which affects a variety of trees including firs, has recently been found in Cornwall. It is not yet known how this has arrived in the UK but is another reminder of the vulnerability of the UK’s trees to deadly pests and diseases.
The message is definitely that it is best to buy British trees and to plant a variety on any project, so that disease may not affect all of those within a scheme. Indeed, trees must grow and survive to maturity, when their carbon-absorbing capacities are most effective.
Wherever possible, we seek to use British trees in schemes and would almost always recommend them. Using lower-cost imported trees can make initial savings but there are long-term costs. For further advice please browse our website or contact us to discuss your next soft landscaping project.