“The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC will encourage planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation, which will benefit future generations.”
Walking in woodlands or even just having a tree to look at when you are ill is known to be beneficial – promoting both mental well-being and speeding up recovery from sickness.
A report produced last December by Forest Research and funded by the Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry and the Welsh Government, recorded that visits to the UK’s woodlands do indeed boost mental health and save an estimated £185 million in treatment costs annually.
We can recognise ancient buildings like castles and cathedrals quite easily. We can probably recognise old houses quite easily too – especially those that are large and grand! We expect such buildings to be protected – perhaps under the auspices of the National Trust or English Heritage, or to be a listed building. But what about trees? The oldest tree in the world is probably a 4m wide Patagonia cypress in Chile which could be up to 5,484 years old (https://theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/26/worlds-oldest-tree-cypress-chile). And that is older even than the pyramids in Egypt! According to the Woodland Trust, the oldest tree in the UK is said to be the Fortingall yew in Perthshire. It’s estimated to be between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, although some believe it could be 5,000 years old. Such trees are historic landmarks and deserved to be protected in the same way that we protect historic buildings. The Woodland Trust has instigated just such a campaign!
The public are being urged to keep an eye out for any signs of disease in local trees, as the UK launches a hi-tech, £5.8m tree laboratory to fight the spread of pests and diseases. The UK is especially vulnerable to the growing spread of plant pathogens because of warmer, wetter winters, and because it is a hub for global trade. The public can report sightings via the Tree Alert site, and a specialist will come and look at the tree, or send samples for further testing. One pest that affects Richmond Park is the oak procession are moth.
“First identified in London in 2006, it probably arrived on imported live wood. It has since been found in some surrounding counties. The caterpillars will be emerging over the next three months. They are black with long white hairs and move in long nose-to-tail processions, which give them their name. The nests are usually the shape of a dome or teardrop and are around the size of a tennis ball. They strip bark off oak trees and cause them to lose their leaves. The caterpillars can cause rashes and breathing difficulties, and should not be touched.”