Tree of the Day – Hawthorn
Saturday 23rd November sees the start of National Tree Week (23rd November – 1st December) and is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season.
To celebrate trees we are posting the ‘Tree of the Day’ with details of the trees you are likely to see if you are out and about in Greater Manchester.
The third of Greater Manchester’s three commonest trees is the hawthorn. This has dense masses of white flowers in the late spring and dark red berries (haws) in the autumn – these often remain on the tree in the winter and are valuable food for birds such as thrushes. Haws have also been used to make jam and syrup. Hawthorns are native to both the UK and mainland Europe and are particularly common in hedgerows, which are traditionally constructed and maintained by hedge-laying. This involves cutting part of the way through the stem of a young hawthorn tree so that the upper part of the stem can be bent over and woven in between stakes placed in the ground, which gives a dense, impassable network of upright stems. You can see examples of hedge-laying in the Mersey Valley near Chorlton Ees and Sale Water Park.
Trees play an incredible role in combating climate chaos by removing planet-wrecking emissions from the air around us. Despite their importance, just 13% of the UK’s total land area has tree cover (compared to an EU average of 35%).
Friends of the Earth has launched a #MoreTreesPlease campaign to double tree cover in the UK. We believe one of the best solutions to protect our environment and achieve net zero emissions (removing as many emissions as we produce) is to double UK forest by 2045, but government targets currently fall well short.
Manchester Friends of the Earth November newsletter is all about trees!
Wherever you live, trees have a wide range of benefits, which you can learn more about inside this newsletter. In our city centres, trees help absorb air pollutants and cool the air in heatwaves. In our suburbs, trees enhance the value of open spaces for exercise and recreation, improving our physical and mental health. In our countryside, trees retain moisture in the soil and thus reduce the risk of grass fires in droughts and floods after heavy rain. These are all important reasons for planting more trees here in Greater Manchester.