“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
It’s National Tree Week, and that means lots of people are donning their boots to plant whips and saplings. Increasing the UK’s tree coverage is vital for carbon capture, cleaner air and shade coverage as the climate warms. But have you considered fruit trees for your tree-planting mission?
There are many excellent reasons to chose fruit trees when it comes to planting season! Read on to find out more.
1. Beautiful (and Tasty!) Blossoms
As well as creating a stunning display in spring, fruit tree blossom provides an important nectar source to pollinators. And trees like cherry, plum, and almond come into bloom in late winter / early spring, with some flowering as early as January. So hungry pollinators will gratefully flock to your fruit tree at the end of winter.
2. Free Food
Fruit trees provide fresh, free, local food. Community orchards are planted so everyone can benefit from them. We aim to plant our orchards in urban areas that experience food poverty, thereby bringing food to people that need it most.
3. Low maintenance
Compared to other forms of food-growing, fruit trees are relatively low-maintenance. You can usually get a good crop if you water regularly and prune once per year. This is especially useful for someone that might not have time to dedicate to maintaining a vegetable garden.
4. Priority Habitats
Fruit trees become “veterans” earlier than other trees. This means that an apple tree can develop rot holes and decaying wood at the age of 50, whereas an oak may need to grow to 300 before it has the same features. Old trees have cosy hollows for birds to nest in, and deadwood and fungi for insects to feast on, making them biodiversity havens. In fact, orchards have been designated a ‘Priority Habitat’ by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Many rare species, like the Noble Chafer Beetle, are found primarily in orchards.
5. Small and Mighty
Fruit trees are available in a wide range of sizes, depending on their rootstock. That means you can choose to plant a tree that will grow big, if you have the space, or you can plant one on dwarfing rootstock that won’t grow very tall. Dwarfing fruit trees can be planted in smaller spaces, such as city gardens, but will need more looking after.
6. Drink Up
If you get a surplus fruit crop, you can contribute to the ‘slow food’ revolution by preserving fruit for the rest of the year. Here at The Orchard Project, we bottle that delicious freshness in the form of juice and cider, with all profits going towards supporting community orchards. Want to make your own cider? Here’s our recipe.
So there you go – six great reasons to add fruit trees to your planting list this year! Watch our video for tips on how to plant a fruit tree here.
If you can’t get out and plant in person this year, perhaps you’d like to make a donation so we can plant a tree for you?