NEARLY 5,000 new trees are being planted in two of Leicester’s most popular green spaces, following a successful bid to the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.
Last week, the city council’s environmental rangers completed the planting of 1,111 small trees in Knighton Park, with oak and lime trees amongst the native species to be planted. Smaller species, such as hawthorn, hazel and crab apple, have also been planted to extend an existing copse in the park.
A core team of four staff have now moved on to the Riverside Park in Aylestone Meadows, where they hope to have planted 3,747 small trees – known as ‘whips’ – by Wednesday (20 January).
Three new copses of native species, each measuring about half a hectare, are being created, featuring species such as field maple, alder and aspen. Hawthorn, hazel, holly and crab apple trees are also being planted.
The team has been out in all weathers, battling rain, mud and frozen ground conditions to plant 1,000 whips on one day alone.
Deputy city mayor responsible for the environment Cllr Adam Clarke said: “This type of planting would normally be supported by our brilliant environmental volunteers, but the coronavirus pandemic means that the volunteering programme is currently suspended.
“We’ve missed our volunteers’ support this year, but I’m very grateful to our small team of environmental rangers and parks staff, who have managed to plant thousands of whips in some really horrible weather conditions.
"As part of our tree strategy, we're committed to increasing the number of trees in our care and improving the quality of the city's tree stock. This significant number of new trees, which have been planted to mimic natural woodland, will provide important new habitat for wildlife – and will be enjoyed by visitors to Knighton Park and Aylestone Meadows for generations to come.”
The funding – totalling £5,587 – was awarded to the city council as part of the second round of the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.
Picture caption: City council staff plant one of the 3,747 new trees in Leicester’s Riverside Park.