Blog Archives
Tree of the month

This month, our tree specialists at Glendale Civic Trees recommend Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolour (also know as Fagus sylvatica Roseomarginata) for its wide colour spectrum through the seasons.

Where does it grow?

Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolor, commonly known as European beech, is a deciduous tree part of the Fagaceae family. Originating from Central Europe to Caucasus in the late 1880’s, the European beech has long been a garden favourite in a variety of destinations.

What conditions does it prefer?

The European Beech is best grown in damp, well-drained, rich loam soil, making woodlands and residential gardens the perfect habitats for these magnificent cultivars. However the tree is sensitive to sunlight, and therefore likes to be positioned in partial shade, as the foliage may scorch in too much sun.

What does it look like up close?

It can be difficult to get a precise interpretation of this tree as it’s rarely seen, however if you do see one, you will not forget it in a hurry. The leaves come in a variety of shades according to the seasons. In spring through to autumn, the foliage turns various glossy shades of pink, green and white; becoming a copper/bronze shade in autumn, making this a great focal point for any landscape.

Does it have any distinctive features?

The most distinct characteristic of the European beech is its variegated foliage. The name ‘tricolor’ comes from the three varied colours on the leaves, which then become an glorious copper shade in the latter part of the year.

Another distinctive characteristic of the European beech is its attractive bark. The trunk has smooth silver bark which adds a significant winter interest and stands out compared to the amongst the ordinary brown coloured bark of surrounding trees.

Interesting facts:

  • The beechnuts that grow on the tree are mildly toxic so avoid eating them!
  • The leaves have three shades: green, pink and white, which gradually turn to copper in the autumn months
  • It’s one of the smallest beech trees, typically reaching only 5-10 metres a maturity

Our recommendations:

Chris Mills, general manager at Civic Trees, said: “This is an extremely attractive cultivar with striking, varigated purple leaves, making it ideal as a specimen tree in a medium to large-sized garden.  

“It’s worth bearing in mind that, although slow growing,  Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolour has the potential to reach an ultimate height of 18-metres and has a broadly round and slightly sweeping habit so it can take up a bit of space.  Also, due to its fibrous root system, other plants will not grow well under the tree, so it’s important to take this into account when considering where the tree will feature in your landscape.”

To find out more about the tree of the month and if it will work well in your project contact our team: 0208 950 4491 or info@civictrees.co.uk.

If you enjoyed this why not try our Tree of the Month recommendation for May.


The importance of trees for British bats

Trees and woodland habitats play a significant role in the life cycle of bats.  Firstly, they provide roosting opportunities as the splits and cracks in the bark provide a perfect hibernation habitat.  

Secondly, trees are imperative for feeding.  Broad leaf trees are an excellent source for foraging as they house a variety of insects – a bat’s number one choice of food.  

Finally, trees provide shelter and protection for bats enabling them to fly from their roosting site to foraging grounds in safety. 

We caught up with our landscape supervisor, James Shipman, who has seven years of experience working with bats, to further discuss the importance of trees for these winged animals.

How long have you worked for Glendale Civic Trees and what is your current role?

Nearly two years and I’m a landscape supervisor.

 

Tell us a bit about your current role and what you do on a day-to-day basis:

My main role as landscape supervisor is to implement and oversee all of the landscaping jobs we have.  When the landscaping jobs are quieter, I jump onto coordinating any of the tree planting jobs or client meetings that are going on in order to support the rest of the team. 

What is your favourite part of the job?

I absolutely love my job.  I particularly enjoy the more difficult or challenging aspects.  Anything that needs careful thinking or planning, with any pressure or time constraints is something most people dislike, but I find exciting.  I like to spend that little bit of extra time on a job to get it finished.  It’s a good feeling when I get home and I know it’s been a productive day!  I like to put my hand to anything necessary, especially any new challenges.

How long have you been involved in bat conservation?

I started volunteering with bats in 2010, so seven years, which isn’t as long as some of the volunteers I work with but it’s been an amazing experience. 

In your time working with bats, what have you achieved?

During my time working with bats I’ve been involved with a lot of exciting research projects, not just in the UK, but also across Europe.  In 2013, I co-founded the Gibraltar bat project, Gib-Bats, and over the years the project has gone from strength to strength.  

In 2016 I received the UK Pete Guest Award at the National Bat Conference for an outstanding contribution to bat conservation, which was an honour.  

My soul aim each year is to inspire others to gain interest in bats.  Everything I do as a volunteer I do for conservation and not for myself.  I’m just very lucky that I’m enjoying myself too! 

How do you apply your interest and experience in bat conservation to your work with Glendale Civic Trees?

I’ve been able to work with outher managers and teams within Glendale to ensure maintenance contracts are secured where a licensed bat worker is needed on site.  There have also been occasions when some of our arboricultural teams have needed advice on bats. 

Where did your interest in bats come from and what is it about them that you find so fascinating?

I studied Zoology at university with the intention of working out in South Africa.  However, due to the country’s decline, I decided to stay on in the UK and continue my interest with animals here.  I stumbled across the local bat group and it went from there. 

I would say the most fascinating thing about bats for me is that we’ll never know everything about them.  They’ll always hold onto some secrets that not even scientists will be able to reveal. 

Do you have a favourite species of bat, if so, what is it and why?

My favourite species of bat is the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis).  This species is mainly found in Europe, but we do have one individual that comes across to the UK to hibernate each year. 

What is it about trees that make them so important for bats?

The most important things about trees are that they’re a natural roosting habitat for bats and a key source of food.  Before bat boxes and manmade features, bats utilised natural environments like trees, caves or ivy, because they provide the perfect humid and damp conditions they like to reside in.

Are there any tree types in particular that attract bats more than others?

Usually veteran or ancient trees with lots of cavities are best.  Quercus robur commonly house bats in crevices, lifted bark and woodpecker holes.  Frost cracks and hazard beams are also popular for some species.  

Overall, any tree that has a small gap or crevice is a possible roosting site.  Even young Betula pendula saplings have been found to house bats.  There’s actually a study named the “Bat Tree Habitat Key” that explores how many tree species are used by bats.  

Do you think it would be possible to move a tree with a bat roost inside?

I’m not sure if it’s been done in the UK before, but I think it’d be worth looking into if the situation arose.  The majority of trees are receptive to transplanting, but the question would be whether the bats would relocate with the tree.  We’d also need to take into account the legislation in place that protects bats and their roosts in the UK, such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000), to ensure that we were able to relocate the species with the tree safely, or if we’d need to re-house the bats seperately. 

What would you say to anyone who has an interest in bats?  What can they do to develop this interest further?

The best thing to do is to contact your local bat group or the Bat Convservation Trust and get involved. 

Can you tell us an interesting fact about bats?

Yes, did you know a Pipistrelle bat can eat over 3,000 mosquitos over a whole night?

Finally James, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Well if I’m not researching bats then you can find me on the rugby pitch or spending time with my family and friends.


Tree of the month

This month, our tree specialists at Glendale Civic Trees recommend Crataegus monogyna.  Nicknamed May Blossom for it’s eye catching spring blooms, this tree is thought to herald the start of spring.

Where does it grow?

Crataegus monogyna, or common Hawthorn, is native to the UK and it is a familiar feature in hedgerows and woodlands around the country.   

Why is is cultivated?

Hawthorn is commonly planted as a hedge or agricultural barrier. The tree’s spiny and closely compacted structure make it ideal for fencing in livestock and it is one of the most common species utilised in traditional hedge-laying techniques.  This is where the stem of the tree is cut almost through near the base and pulled down parallel with the ground to encourage new vertical growth.  

The timber of Crataegus monogyna is very hard with an attractive creamy brown colour and a fine grain making it suitable for a variety of wood products such as tool handles and cabinets.  It also makes very good firewood.    

Traditionally however, Crataegus monogyna was cultivated for its use in herbalism and medicine, particularly for treating cardiovascular related illnesses.

What conditions does it prefer?

As a native to the UK, Hawthorn will grow in almost any aspect and in any soil type that is moist but well drained, however the best flowers are produced when the tree is exposed to full sun.  

What does it look like up close?

Crataegus monogyna is a round, deciduous tree with glossy foliage and small creamy flowers.  In the autumn the flowers are replaced with clusters of dark red berries.

The leaves are deeply lobed, and it has dense, bushy branches with sharp thorns making it a safe place for birds to make their homes away from predators.  The bark is dark grey/brown in colour, and in older trees the surface can become marred with knots and fissures.  

Any distinctive features?
The tree is popular for its abundance of delicate white flowers that, grow in a ‘corymb’ structure and bloom in May. Each flower has five white petals with vivid red stamens in the centre, and they are heavily scented.    

Our recommendations

Deric Newman, sales manager at Civic Trees, says: “Due to the abundance of wildlife it supports, Hawthorn is a fantastic choice in wildlife gardens. It’s berries, or ‘haws’, in particular are a vital source of food for birds, insects and other wildlife during the autumn months and can also be made into jams and jellies.

“The species has been used for years as a way to ‘stock-proof’ agricultural sites.  It’s hardy nature and naturally dense structure make it well suited to this purpose.  I’d highly recommended the species if you’re looking for an instant hedge or screening tree.  However, it’s important to note that Crataegus monogyna is quite fast growing so will require regular trimming to keep in under control.   

“Their striking features mean they also work well as stand-alone features in large open spaces and will eventually grow to between eight and 15 metres tall.  They were once used as boundary-markers in the open landscape by Anglo-Saxons due to their conspicuous nature.”

To find out more about the tree of the month and if it will work well in your project contact our team: 0208 950 4491 or info@civictrees.co.uk.

If you enjoyed this why not try our Tree of the Month recommendation for April.


Tree of the Month

This month, our tree specialists at Glendale Civic Trees recommend the world’s tallest tree, Sequoia sempervirens.

Where does it grow?

Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the coastal redwood, is found on the west coast of the United States, close to the Pacific Ocean.  A member of the cypress family, the largest remaining populations of this rare tree are located in the coastal areas of California at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, Redwood National Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  This area is particularly wet and prone to fog, which are the perfect conditions to support these giants.  

Why is is cultivated?

Sequoia sempervirens has been used extensively within the construction industry since the 1850s due to its straight trunk and excellent quality wood.  However, in recognition of its endangered status, many of the remaining ‘old-growth’ forests are now protected from logging in order to preserve the species for future generations.  Conservation charities are campaigning for more sustainable forestry methods to be adopted in redwood forests that are still subject to clearcutting techniques.  

What conditions does it prefer?

The coastal redwood prefers shady, damp locations with a mild-climate, similar to that of its native habitat in the coastal regions of California.   It is sensitive to frost, intolerant to drought and doesn’t like heavy, peaty or dry soils.  

What does it look like up close?

It is difficult to get an accurate impression of a tree this tall close up.  The first thing that can be distinguished is the immense trunk, up to four metres in diameter, with soft, deeply furrowed, red-coloured bark, similar to that of the Sequiadendron giganteum.  

High up, around 60 metres from the ground, the trunk is topped with a conical-shaped crown and downward sweeping branches.  Sequoia sempervirens is an evergreen with dense foliage and it’s leaves are similar in shape and length to those of the Yew.

A fascinating feature of these trees, that has only recently been discovered, is that high up in the canopy a complex forest ecosystem made up of different plant species, lichens, insects, lizards and small mammals can be found.     

Any distinctive features?
The coastal redwoods most distinctive feature is its height.  On average this impressive specimen can grow up to 100 metres tall and has a relatively slender silhouette for its size.

The tallest specimen currently on record is fondly known as ‘Hyperion’ which stands at an eye-watering 115 metres tall.  This is 19 metres taller than Big Ben.  

The tree is aptly named after one of the Titans in Greek Mythology, Hyperion, who represented light and wisdom and was considered to be one of the four pillars that held the heavens and the earth apart.  It is thought that this iconic coastal redwood may grow even taller as it is young for a Sequoia sempervirens which can live up to 2,500-years-old.

Our recommendations

Deric Newman, sales manager at Civic Trees, says: “If you want to recreate a scene from Jurassic Park then this is the tree for you!  In North America, during the Cretaceous period, these spectacular redwood forests would have been found all over the region and they still retain their air of pre-historic mystery today.  

“Joking aside, this magnificent tree is a fantastic solution for broadscale screening in a large space.  Because it’s an evergreen it can provide a year round, solid wall of green.  Add a section of ornamental deciduous trees in front of the screen and you can create a wonderful backdrop filled with rich contrast and seasonal interest.   

“It’s worth bearing in mind that Sequoia sempervirens is quite sensitive to winter frost, particularly when young, but it thrives in England due to our naturally wet climate.  It’s a fast growing species, but we would still recommend planting a semi-mature specimen for instant impact on your site.”  

To find out more about the tree of the month and if it will work well in your project contact our team: 0208 950 4491 or info@civictrees.co.uk.

Did you like this article?  Why not try our Tree of the Month for Februrary?


Relocating a tree with a Tree Preservation Order

Tree relocation projects are both large-scale and resource-hungry, and as a result it is vital every avenue is thoroughly examined to determine the potential for success.

Chris Mills, general manager at Glendale Civic Trees says, one of the key things to check before embarking on a tree move is whether the tree can legally be transplanted.  

He said: “Many trees fall within designated conservation areas, and some are specifically protected with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), so it’s important to check that you have permission to relocate the tree before you start.   

“A TPO is a written order made by the local planning authority which makes it an offence to carry out any work on a protected tree without the authority’s permission, except under very specific circumstances.  A TPO can cover a single specimen or all of the trees within a specified area like a woodland or copse.   

“TPOs were introduced in order to protect our treescape in urban and peri-urban areas, such as parks.  They generally apply to trees that have what is known as high ‘amenity’ value.  These are trees that the community see as a significant part of the local landscape and are usually found in places where they are visible or accessible to the public.

“A tree move isn’t impossible when there is a TPO in place, but permission must be sought from the local planning authority before the project can go ahead and it might impose restrictions on what can be achieved.  

“I would recommend finding out as soon as possible if your tree is protected with a TPO by contacting the tree officer at your local council.  An official search of the local land charges register can also reveal any orders that are in place, or if the trees on your property are located in a conservation area.”  

The local planning authority requires an Application for Tree Works to be submitted for any trees protected under a TPO, explains Chris: “this official document is available online through the government’s Planning Portal and requires you to specify what work is required and the reasons why the application is being made.  For example, the relocation of a tree that is under threat from a new development into temporary storage in order to preserve it.   

“I’d recommend consulting a tree specialist to clarify what work is needed and to get some support when filling out the form because the local planning authority require a lot of detailed evidence.  It’s also advisable to discuss the proposal on an informal basis with the local planning authority before completing the form as they may be able to give you some guidance.”  

Chris adds that trees that the local planning authority still require written notice of any proposed work to trees that fall within a conservation area six weeks prior to any work commencing, even if they are not protected by a TPO.  

Chris continues: “Once the application is submitted the local planning authority will arrange to undertake a site visit as part of the decision making process.  Consent, if it is given, is valid for two years and will be confirmed in writing.  They wil also confirmed in writing if full consent has been given or part consent with restrictions on what work can be completed.

“If your application has been successful and you are ready to start planning your tree relocation project I’d recommend our article by operations manager Marc Greenaway ‘Preparing to relocate a tree?’ for guidance.”

For a free consultation about your tree moving project contact a member of our team.

For more information about TPOs visit the government website here.


Tree team bridges the gap for Manchester railway project

A team from national tree relocation, supply and planting specialist Glendale Civic Trees was called upon when three large trees needed relocating to enable a new railway bridge to be installed.

Using the largest tractor mounted tree spade in the UK, three Sequoiadendron gigantium Wellingtonia were moved so infrastructure specialist J.Murphy & Sons Limited (Murphy) could replace the bridge near Mauldeth Road Station in Manchester.

The trees were situated in Ladybarn Park in the exact spot where a crane needed to be positioned to remove the old bridge and install its replacement.

Glendale’s new North West-based arboriculture enterprise was originally approached to relocate the trees, estimated to be between 15 – 20 years in age, but due to their size, semi-mature tree specialist Civic Trees was brought onboard to move them to the other side of the park.

Once the relocation was complete the crane was able to lift out the old bridge, which had reached the end of its useable life, and replace it with a new one.

Marc Greenaway, operations manager at Glendale Civic Trees, said: The time constraints of the project meant we needed to act quickly to relocate the trees, which combined with wet ground and rather tight site access meant somewhat challenging conditions. In the end it took our team just two days to relocate the three trees.

Tree pads were placed around the relocation site by the Murphy team to prevent the tree spade churning up the ground, and the team also ensured surrounding paths were cleared and the ground was reinstated.

“It was important to take good care of the trees throughout the process, particularly as they’re an interesting species with a lot of history having first been brought into the UK from California in the 1850s by plant collector William Lobb.”

 Civic Trees has been supplying, planting and relocating mature and semi-mature trees since 1963.

In addition to the largest tractor mounted tree spade in the UK, it also boasts the largest fleet of tree spades.


A day in the life of a tree mover

Colin Evans has been working with specialist tree relocation company, Glendale Civic Trees, for 27 years.  Our marketing manager Joanna Hill caught up with Colin to find out a little bit more about his role with the organisation and his experiences relocating large semi-mature trees.

Current job: Team leader/tree spade operator

Length of service: 27 years

Tell me a bit about your current job and what you do on a day-to-day basis:
Generally I lead our teams on big tree planting jobs.  I currently carry out all tree relocation works for Glendale Civic Trees using our fleet of tree spades.  When I’m not on site I carry out the maintenance on the tree spades and other large mechanical equipment that we operate.

You work with a lot of large-scale equipment, what is your favourite piece of kit to work with?
My favourite machine is the 1.4 optimal tree spade which is mounted on a Ford County 1174.  I’ve been using this very machine since I first started with Glendale Civic Trees back in 1989!

Tell me a bit about some of the people you work with.  Who are your co-workers?  Are you in a team environment, or do you work independently?
Depending on the task I am doing I sometimes work alone.  When I’m using larger equipment, or carrying out big planting jobs, my colleague Shaun Minchin works alongside me.  I’ve been training Shaun for the last six months.

What keeps you motivated to into work each day?
I’ve got a passion for trees and I really enjoy the equipment I get to use.  It also helps having a hard working and equally passionate team to work with.

What is your favourite part of your role?
My favourite part of the job is driving the tree spades.  Helping people to relocate trees instead of cutting them down is also really satisfying.

Are there any challenges in your job?  If so, what are they and how do you handle them?
Every job is different, sometimes we have access issues, we might have issues with the ground conditions, or we might even experience mechanical problems.  Over the last 27-years I’ve learnt that sometimes you just need to step back and look at the problem before rushing into it, nine times out of 10 there’ll be a simple solution. 

If you looked back to day one when you started your role to now, how do you feel the role has evolved?  Do you feel you have changed as a person in this role?
The role is always changing as new technologies and methods are introduced.  I feel like I’ve developed as a person and as an operator during my career with Glendale Civic Trees, especially my problem-solving skills and knowing the limitations of our equipment.  

What advice would you give someone who is seeking the same line of work?
As there are only a few companies that carry out the specialised work that we do, I’d recommend starting out with a reputable company.  It’s important that you listen to the guidance of the experienced operators you work with, otherwise you’ll struggle to learn the new skills you need for this job.  Having a good overall tree knowledge will also help a lot, and you should always be aware of your surroundings when operating big machinery, especially when you start out in this line of work.

Do you have any funny stories you can share about your job?
In the past I’ve driven the large 2.1 metre tractor mounted tree spade through central London with a big tree on the back.  I got some funny looks from passerby walking along Embankment!  

What is your proudest accomplishment at Glendale Civic Trees?
Many things come to mind however, every time I finish a job and I have a very satisfied customer it makes the job worthwhile.

Where do you see Glendale Civic Trees heading in the future?
I think Glendale Civic Trees will continue with that it’s doing at the moment, with customer satisfaction as the main focus.  The company will always aim to lead the way with new technology and new planting technqiues to make sure we stay ahead of the game. 

Can you tell me a bit about your past career experience?
Before I joined Glendale Civic Trees most of the roles I had involved driving heavy plant and machinery, this could be anything from a forklift to a large excavator.  Back in the early 80s I spent five years at night school doing a craftmanship course in precision welding and fabrication.

Do you have any career aspirations moving forward?
I would like to continue with what I’m doing and training the next generation of tree movers.  Before I retire I’d like to see more young people come into the industry. 

Tell me a bit about your life outside of work, do you have any hobbies?
When I’m not working I enjoy fishing, gardening and tinkering with engines.  I’m also a family man with five children, one of which also works for Glendale as an arborist. 

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
When I first joined Glendale Civic Trees in 1989 I was only here as an agency worker.  I worked here for three months on behalf of the agency and then Glendale Civic Trees offered me a full-time job and I’ve never looked back.

 


Harmony in horticulture on the horizon

The theme of harmony is set to dominate tree planting and gardening trends in 2017, according to a green spaces expert.

Chris Mills, general manager at national tree supply, planting and relocation specialist Glendale Civic Trees, says people will benefit from utilising simplistic landscape designs and calming colours in their gardens.

Chris said: The Flower Council of Holland announced its four trends for 2017 as harmonise, equalise, energise and rebel and from a design perspective we’ll see this reflected in colours, shapes and patterns, all working in harmony to complement one another.

“The trend for harmony reflects a desire to break away from an often chaotic and noisy world of late, with more and more people seeking solace through nature and reaping the social and health benefits offered by plants.

Keeping things simple, with the use of calming green hues and simple patterns and structures creates outdoor spaces where people can easily relax and switch off from the world, instilling a much sought after sense of stability and balance.

At the same time, the use of colourful flowers and plants which inject a sense of energy and vibrancy, such as bright oranges, yellows and pinks, will also be popular. The association between the colour orange with sunshine and warmth for example, is known to stimulate positive feelings.

However for some, the rebel trend outlined by The Flower Council will mean experimentation with daring, light-hearted designs which see colours and shapes clashed to create unconventional looking spaces, in a bid to break all the rules.

“Wildlife protection will also remain a priority, reflected in the planting of trees and plants which attract bees and birds, including Prunus avium (sweet cherry), Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree) and Malus domestica (apple tree).”

Aesthetics aside, Chris also predicts an increase in the use of methods and techniques which will help contribute to improved tree and plant health: “We’ll see square tree pits being relied upon more frequently, which are more effective at encouraging roots to extend further meaning a healthier and more stable tree.

In addition, the recent trend towards hyperlocalism will continue, with an increase in stock being sourced locally, supporting the value placed on homegrown produce and echoing the need to combat climate change by importing less from overseas in order to reduce carbon emissions.”

Although, optimistic about the year ahead, Chris also anticipates the usual challenges will need to be tackled.

Glendale Civic Trees is already off to a strong start for the year, with the team soon to be embarking on a project in a Cotswolds estate involving planting up to 100 trees, and we’re looking forward to continuing to expand our landscaping portfolio.

But there will also be the usual challenges to face, with the number of pests and diseases coming from abroad on the rise, so biosecurity measures will need to be increased.


Tree of the Month

This month, our tree specialists at Glendale Civic Trees recommend the largest tree in the world by volume, Sequoiadendron giganteum Wellingtonia.

Where does it grow?

Sequoiadendron giganteum Wellingtonia is a species of Cypress native to California.  It is found in a limited number of groves across the iconic Sierra Nevada mountain range at altitudes of 900 to 2,400 metres.  The tree was first introduced into the UK in the 1850s by Cornish plant collector William Lobb who was fascinated by this larger-than-life conifer.

The tree was given it’s British moniker, ‘Wellingtonia’  by John Lindley from the Horticultural Society of London after the then recently deceased Duke of Wellington.  Although this name has since ceased to be recognised botanically, it has remained as an affectionate term for this popular specimen in the UK.

Why is is cultivated?

In Britain, the tree was traditionally planted as a symbol of status and wealth amongst aristocrats and royalty.  They are now often the only lasting reminder of many grand country estates that once adorned the British landscape.  

In America, the naturally occurring giant redwoods in California are an ecotourism attraction, pulling in visitors worldwide for a glimpse of one of nature’s true giants.  It is also a flagship species for conservation.

What conditions does it prefer?

Sequoiadendron giganteum Wellingtonia likes well-drained soil conditions and thrives equally well in both exposed or sheltered conditions.  The tree is well suited to sand, chalk or loam soils.

What does it look like up close?

This tall evergreen matures into a dense, conical shape with down-swept, ‘shaggy’ branches, starting part way up its vast pillar of a stem.  The tree has red-brown bark with a unique spongy texture and its leaves are short and taper to a slender, stiff point.  It has oval-shaped cones that turn a deep red-brown at maturity.

Any distinctive features?

The Sequoiadendron giganteum Wellingtonia’s most distinctive feature is its size.  In fact it is so large that when it was first discovered in the mid-19th century many believed it to be a hoax.

The tallest specimen currently on record is an incredible 94.9 metres tall (taller than the statue of liberty) and can be found at Kings Canyon National Park in California.  However this isn’t the most well-known specimen, that title belongs to General Sherman, an 83.6m goliath that holds the world record for the largest known stem volume, a staggering 1,486 cubic metres of timber.   

Our recommendations

Deric Newman, sales manager at Civic Trees, says: “This is a spectacular, long-lived tree, perfect as a feature in an arboretum or parkland area where there’s plenty of space for it to grow to its full, towering potential.  

“However, where Wellingtonia is perhaps at its most inspiring is when it’s used in long avenues, lining driveways or screening properties, echoing its natural tendency to occur in groves.  One of the most famous avenues, planted in 1863 and featuring Wellingtonia over 45 metres tall, can be found at Benmore Botanic Garden in Scotland.  

“When given plenty of space to grow without restraints this species thrives in the UK thanks to our temperate climate and the fact that it is a vigorous grower.  That said,  it takes up to 50 years for the Wellingtonia to reach 40 metres tall so we’d recommend planting a mature specimen to achieve the full impact of this giant in your landscape instantly.

“Finally, to answer a frequent concern about these trees, although they are a prime candidate for lighting strikes due to their size, the bark of the Sequoiadendron giganteum is actually fire resistant, an adaptation it developed in its native California in order to withstand forest fires.  They are also typically unaffected by storms and strong winds.  

To find out more about the tree of the month and if it will work well in your project contact our team: 0208 950 4491 or info@civictrees.co.uk.  Did you enjoy this article?  Why not try January’s Tree of the Month here.


Tree of the Month

This month, our tree specialists at Glendale Civic Trees recommend the magnificent Magnolia grandiflora.

Where does it grow?

Magnolia grandiflora, from the Magnoliaceae family, is native to the south east of America.  In fact, it is so prolific in certain parts that it is recognised as the official tree of the state of Mississippi.  

In England the tree typically grows to around 12 metres tall, but some exceptionally large specimens, reaching a dizzying 37 metres tall, have been found in its native habitat.

Why is is cultivated?

The tree’s timber is harvested regularly and, due to its straight-grain and moderately heavy texture, it is used commercially to make furniture, doors and veneer.  Magnolia grandiflora is also very popular as an ornamental tree, grown for its attractive leaves and impressive, fragrant flowers.  

What conditions does it prefer?

Magnolia grandiflora prefers moist, well-draining soil, including chalky soils.  It does well in both sun and partial shade, and should be planted in a location that is sheltered from strong winds and frost.

What does it look like up close?

This impressive evergreen is pyramidal in shape and its foliage is dense and dark.  It has green, glossy leaves that are broad and ovate, with rust-coloured hairs on the underside.  The waxy coating on the leaves is thought to make them quite tolerant to salt and air pollution, making it suitable for urban sites.

Any distinctive features?

Aside from its dark, leathery leaves, this evergreen Magnolia’s most distinctive features are its large, goblet-shaped flowers.  The flowers are heavily fragrant with tones of lemon and vanilla.  

Our recommendations

Deric Newman, sales manager at Civic Trees, says: “Whilst it is one of the hardier magnolias, Magnolia grandiflora is best planted in a sheltered spot if you want to encourage it to grow to its full potential.       

“I would recommend using it as a large, specimen tree in a sheltered garden or parkland where it can be admired for its showy flowers in the summer, and its glossy, dark green foliage in the winter.  However, it is important to remember that this tree has a slow growth rate and won’t reach its ultimate height for 20 to 50 years, so I’d recommend purchasing a mature specimen for more immediate impact.

“The tree can also be trained against a wall when you need to save space, or used in a row as a magnificent screen.”

To find out more about the tree of the month and if it will work well in your project contact our team: 0208 950 4491 or info@civictrees.co.uk.