You may not realise it but Ealing happens to be one of London’s greenest boroughs. Home to an extensive amount of street trees and with over one hundred parks and other open spaces such as allotments, playgrounds and golf courses. You will also find larger areas such as the (approx) 47 acre Ealing common and various nature conservation areas within its boundaries, certainly opened my eyes to just how green Ealing is!
This all helps to bring the natural world into Ealing’s very urban environment and although many people, unfortunately, do not realise this fact, trees do have a very significant role to play in this urban environment.
Ealing’s trees will continue to become more and more valuable as we have to face and deal with climate change.
Apart from enhancing the streets and open spaces of Ealing, trees help to keep the environment healthy, they improve the air quality on which we all depend on, helps prevent ozone layer depletion, along with providing materials and food for us and habitats for wildlife.
With all this in mind, along with far more than can be mentioned here, Ealing Council have developed a tree strategy for 2013 – 2018 which will help protect, maintain and enhance its trees. This plan includes not only those trees owned by the council but also the substantial amount of trees that are belonging to Ealing’s businesses and residents too, thus not regarding each tree as an individual but regarding all of Ealing’s trees as one ‘urban forest’. Part of this strategy also includes Ealing council’s vision to make sure that trees will continue to be a defining feature of Ealing, along with enhancing and increasing the entire urban tree stock, not only for the enjoyment and benefit of today’s generation but for future generations to come.
The Importance & Environmental Benefits of Ealing’s Trees
As well as being aesthetically pleasing and of high value to wildlife, Ealing’s trees provide its residents with economic, social and environmental benefits too, along with being the only really significant vegetation growing in an otherwise very densely developed area.
Some of the environmental benefits of Ealing’s trees are:
- With climate change predictions stating that our winters will become wetter and warmer, trees will help reduce the risk of flooding, soaking up a lot of the rain water.
- Trees help cool down urban environments along with being able to provide a source of carbon-neutral renewable energy.
- Trees contribute to improving air quality by trapping dust particles and filtering gaseous pollutants from the air we breathe. These pollutants and particles are then washed to the ground when it rains.
Various biodiversity benefits of Ealing’s trees are:
- Trees provide much-needed habitats for wildlife in the area. Of particular importance and value to invertebrates, bats and birds are very mature trees and those trees which have cavities and dead wood.
- Woodlands in the borough of Ealing support a great number of various types of insects, many of those insects being rare species.
- Ealing’s numerous street trees provide links between open spaces, parks, , which in turn allows wildlife to be able to move between these areas.
Economic benefits of Ealing’s trees:
- By-products from various trees can be sold, thereby providing an income. They can also help to provide savings when having to purchase products such as mulch, timber and woodchip.
- Employing “tree surgeons in Ealing“, arboriculturists, has the knock on effect of contributing to the wider economy.
- It has been shown that a tree lined street actually increases a residential properties value.
- Retail areas that have trees make the area a much more attractive place to shop in, thus indirectly encouraging people to use these retail areas.
The aesthetic benefits of Ealing’s trees:
- Trees have an enormous impact on the landscape with many taller trees creating fantastic skyline features.
- Smaller trees are extremely useful in their ability to provide much-needed screening and privacy in such a densely populated area, along with helping to soften the urban landscape.
The social and health benefits of Ealing’s trees:
- By providing cleaner air, trees assist in reducing the incidence of breathing difficulties and asthma.
- A tree’s canopy provides much-needed shade which in turn can help in the reduction of possible skin cancer risks.
- For people who are unable to leave their environment, trees provide a connection to the natural world.
- Trees have been proven to speed up recovery times for hospital patients.
- Trees can help give people a sense of well-being through their various colours and the scents they emit.
- Trees make for an excellent outdoor classroom, teaching children about the natural world and helping them learn about the value and importance of trees in their environment.
- Trees help provide spaces for people to relax in, giving much-needed relief from the stresses and strains of today’s busy world.
If all the above information has made you think again about trees and just how important and valuable they are to the residents of Ealing then you may be interested in the tree warden scheme below:
Ealing’s Tree Warden Scheme
You may be interested in learning that Ealing Council actually has a tree warden scheme for members of the public who are very interested in trees.
At the moment they have about twenty-five volunteers who are given training and information, thus enabling these volunteers to help and assist the council with various projects including the planting and establishment of new trees. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, then contact Ealing council to see if they have any spaces available for new recruits, it is certainly a very worthwhile scheme.
Sponsored Memorial Tree Planting in Ealing
This excellent scheme enables members of the public to sponsor the planting of a new tree, along with its establishment. The sponsor is able to choose from a selection of tree species and on certain sites, they are also able to opt for a personalised memorial plaque should they so wish.
This scheme has already received positive feedback from its customers, gives the sponsor a sense of ownership, which has in turn reduced the occurrence of vandalism, thereby significantly improving tree establishment rates in the Borough of Ealing.
How Many Trees Are There in Ealing & Just Where Are They?
You may be quite amazed to learn that it is thought that Ealing’s urban tree stock is in excess of a quarter of a million trees, with about 90,000 on council land and about 160,000 thought to be on private land in mainly residential areas.
The trees owned by Ealing council are to be found spread over the following areas:
- Parks & Open Spaces (excluding woodlands) 48,000
- Cemeteries 2,000
- Street Trees 24,000
- Housing 6,000
- Social Services, Education, Others 10,000
Ealing’s Tree Stock – Cemeteries, Parks, Open Spaces
Excluding woodlands, Ealing’s cemeteries, open spaces and parks have around fifty thousand trees. There are nineteen vast areas of open space in the borough of Ealing, which include Brent River Park, Northolt and Greenford Countryside Park and Horsenden Hill, plus another 8.4sq kilometres of green spaces and parks.
These areas support some of Ealing’s largest and oldest trees which provide vast areas of much-needed shade, filter out air pollution, enhance the landscape, provide habitats for wildlife and are also of significant historical value.
Trees along Ealing’s Canals and Riverbanks
Flowing through the heart of the borough of Ealing from north to south is the River Brent, together with other smaller streams and rivers, along with ten miles of canals which all support tree growth along their banks. These trees significantly contribute to biodiversity as well as enhancing the landscape.
Ealing’s Woodland Stock
Ealing’s woodlands form not only a very significant part of the borough’s tree stock, but they also have a vital role to play too by providing semi-rural areas for local residents and visitors to walk and play in or to just watch the wildlife.
Ealing is lucky enough to have several ancient woodlands within its borough that are at least four hundred years old. These woodlands include the privately owned Perivale Wood, which is the jewel in the crown, being home to Ash and English Oak along with Hazel Coppice, Field Maple and Wild Service Trees all growing beneath.
The others are Horseden Wood, parts of Grove Farm, Long-Woods and Tentelow and Osterley Island, which is at Elthorne Waterside. Hanger Hill-Wood and Fox Wood are also important sites although Hanger Hill-Wood, which can be seen on maps dating from 1393 and shown as being woodland, sadly now mainly consists of non-native trees.
Those woodlands owned by Ealing Council are managed by the Ranger Service, with the main aim being to provide biodiversity, along with enhancement and protection of those areas.
Ealing’s Street Trees
Ealing has about twenty-four thousand street trees growing throughout its Borough although the spread is not even, with some trees found in the various different council wards differing quite widely.
Ealing’s street trees also range greatly in their species, age and size, mainly due to the times in which they were planted having an effect. How popular a particular tree species was at that time, available space or the character of the built up environment playing a large part in deciding what to plant.
While London Plane and Lime trees are the most prevalent trees to be found on the streets of Ealing, there are also a large number of smaller trees such as Apple, Maple, Cherry and Sorbus trees to be found too.
The street trees of Ealing are what gives it its character, creating green corridors that connect to the open spaces. This makes it a very pleasant and green place to not only live in but to work in or visit too.
Ealing’s Housing Stock Trees
Ealing’s council housing trees are on land that is made up of blocks, estates and communal gardens and is a critical part of the borough’s urban tree stock. This stock consists of around about six thousand healthy trees that vary in age and species.
Housing sites are usually densely populated areas and these trees not only provide a very vital and much needed pleasant outlook, enhancing the site for residents and visitors, they also provide shade. These sites often also give more scope and space for any future planting as opposed to the limited space that street tree planting can provide.
Pests & Diseases Affecting Ealing’s Trees
Many of our trees are now under threat from new pests and diseases arriving on plants, timber and other goods that have been imported from outside the United Kingdom.
With a changing climate that seems to support these new arrivals and no natural predators to reduce their numbers, Ealing council is now facing an even harder job in trying to ensure that their tree stocks remain healthy, not to mention the increasing costs this incurs in an already cash-strapped situation.
Pests and diseases that are currently affecting trees in Ealing are:
Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) extensive yearly treatment is required to contain the Oak Processionary Moths spread and to try and limit the damage the caterpillar of this month does to the council’s Oak tree stock.
Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner
Should you become aware of any of the above affecting the trees in your garden then do consult a registered, fully qualified, local tree surgeon who will be able to confirm the presence of the pest or disease and the treatment required.
If reading this article has inspired you to plant a tree in your garden, or to provide a habitat for wildlife (or both) and you are not sure what to plant or how to plant it, a good local tree surgeon in Ealing will be able to advise you. They will tell you exactly what would suit your soil conditions, garden size, garden position, etc. Not only that, but they can also source a good healthy specimen and then plant it for you.