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Bedford Borough Council joins national street tree sponsorship scheme

July 3, 2021 7:18 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Mayor Dave Hodgson with newly-planted treesBedford Borough Council is one of the first UK councils to join the new National Street Tree Sponsorship Scheme, Trees for Streets, which aims to plant thousands of trees in streets across the borough through sponsorship by local residents.

Trees for Streets is a project by Trees for Cities, the national urban tree charity, and is funded by the government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Its goal is to support the planting of more than a quarter of a million street trees nationwide over the next ten years, by supplementing council tree planting budgets.

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough, said: "We are really pleased to be joining the Trees for Streets project, bringing trees and wildlife out of our beautiful award-winning parks and open spaces, and onto our streets. The Council planted over 4,600 trees last year and the Trees for Streets scheme makes it easy for local residents to get directly involved in improving their neighbourhoods by getting even more trees planted."

The scheme provides an online platform to allow anyone wanting to sponsor a street tree in their neighbourhood to make a request to their local council by providing a few simple details. The council then assesses the chosen location, and if it is suitable, arrangements will be made to plant a tree the following winter, which is the best time to plant young trees to ensure they grow and thrive.

Simeon Linstead, Project Director of Trees for Streets explains further "Trees for Streets enables residents to work with their local councils to make a difference to the world immediately on their doorstep, through a combination of technology and local engagement. We want to inspire and empower the local community to take a leading role in greening the streets of this town."

Why are street trees important?

Street trees do so much for us:

  • capture carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
  • improve our health and wellbeing - both physically and mentally
  • protect us from flooding
  • create shading and cooling - so important in towns and cities
  • make the neighbourhoods where we live that bit nicer

Beyond sponsoring a tree, there are lots of other ways for people to get involved. Once each street tree is planted, it will need watering every week throughout the summer for 3 years to give it the best chance of survival.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said, "We really want to encourage as many residents as possible to get involved in watering and caring for our new street trees. Every bit of water helps, so if you have a young tree outside your home or nearby please do help us keep these trees healthy and growing."

Street tree watering tips:

  • It's best to water in the early morning or evening when it's a bit cooler, so the tree can absorb as much of the water as possible before it evaporates in the sunshine.
  • Young trees need 50 litres of water each week during the summer - that's 5 standard watering cans, or 25 empty 2l drinks bottles!
  • If the tree has a watering pipe, pour half of the water down the pipe and the other half on ground around the tree trunk. If the tree has a watering bag, simply fill that.
  • Get into a regular habit - at Trees for Streets we like to remind people on our social media channels to water trees on #WateringWednesday, but you could give your nearby tree a daily watering can full Monday to Friday instead, or do it all at the weekend - as long as it gets a good long drink.
  • You can use rainwater, washing-up water or bath water if you like - trees aren't fussy!

By donating time (and water) to care for street trees, residents will be contributing to a legacy for their community. It's also a great opportunity to chat with neighbours, and enjoy the fresh air these trees provide.

You can find out more about this project, including how to sponsor a tree at https://sponsor.treesforstreets.org/provider/bedford-borough-council.