Which tree should I choose to plant?
Many of us want to plant trees for carbon storage, and this is government policy.
Planting native species provides food and homes for a much wider range of insects, fungi, birds and mammals than most of the imported and cultivated varieties sold in garden centres and nurseries.
However, the truth is that many native trees are far too large to plant in the average garden and would need to be chopped down before getting to an age to have a net carbon storage benefit, or to provide much help to biodiversity.
This factsheet gives you the final height of most native species, whereas the garden centre tells you the height after ten years! It also tells you whether it will make a good hedge as this stores carbon well and provides food and shelter for wildlife too.
So the message is do plant some native species if you have the space, but it is better to plant a smaller cultivar or an imported variety if that can be allowed to grow and mature.
There is an amazing range of fruit tree varieties to choose from with different textures, flavours and juice levels and all of them can be bought on different rootstocks to suit the space available. They give pollen and nectar for insects in the spring, beautiful flowers for the garden, fruit in the autumn (wildlife may leave you a little!) and a home for many insects under the bark.
There are tasting days for apples and pears at RHS Wisley in Surrey and at many smaller events, such as at The National Trust at Greys Court and BBOWT HQ at Woolley Firs, Maidenhead in October. Experts will help you choose the varieties to suit your garden and your taste buds.
You can also check out our Native Tree Factsheet here.