Petersfield Climate Action Network’s A Fruit Tree In Every Garden project returned this winter – and it is growing faster than ever.
Supported by grants from East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) and Petersfield Town Council, the scheme sees PeCAN distribute trees for residents to plant in their own gardens.
Over the previous two winters PeCAN handed over 380 fruit trees in Petersfield, but this year alone it has sold 570 trees for gardens across East Hampshire.
That’s 950 trees in total, so far. A big step towards EHDC’s goal of seeing 120,000 trees planted in the district.
Working in partnership with Alton Climate Action Network, Liphook Climate Action Network, Petersfield Community Garden and Rowlands Castle Gardening Club, PeCAN was able to offer the choice of four collection points this year, so the whole district could benefit from subsidised trees.
Planting season is coming to an end but you can still register your interest for a tree ready for collection next year.
The trees would usually cost over £30 plus delivery but thanks to funding from East Hampshire District Council and Petersfield Town Council, the trees were available for only £15, including a stake and information on how to plant and care for your tree.
The scheme has proved so popular that 13 EHDC councillors provided grants totalling £6,450, and a further £3,541 was contributed from the council’s climate and environment budget. Petersfield Town Council also donated a further £2,200.
EHDC has pledged to see 120,000 trees planted in the district, that’s one for every resident.
So far agreements are in place for more than 56,000 trees in East Hampshire thanks to the scheme, and programmes like PeCAN’s mean more and more are planted every day.
Amelia Gabriel, programme manager at Petersfield Climate Action Network, said: “Trees are a beneficial addition to most gardens, but in residential areas they are very important, helping with climate regulation and air filtration and providing valuable habitats for wildlife.
“This project has been hugely successful and it is a wonderful initiative to be involved with. We encourage people across our community and beyond to plant a fruit tree and do their bit to protect our environment and encourage our wildlife to flourish.
“With almost half of Britain’s ancient woodland having been destroyed in the last 50 years, the need for these habitats is greater than ever, and you can help by planting a tree in your garden.”
Councillor Robert Mocatta, EHDC’s portfolio holder for regeneration and prosperity, said: “This has been an incredibly successful project and brilliantly run by PeCAN.
“Planting trees is a fantastic way of improving the environment as they capture carbon and enhance biodiversity. It’s so important that we get this message into the community and this programme is a great way of doing that.
“As part of our climate and environment work we have promised to see 120,000 trees planted in East Hampshire, one for every resident, so I am delighted we have been able to support PeCAN’s A Fruit Tree In Every Garden project with grants from across the council.”
The types of trees available include apple, pear, plum, cherry and ornamental cherry and were sourced from local nursery Blackmoor Fruit Farm. The trees are two years old and approximately 1.5 metres tall, growing to 2-3 metres when mature.
Fruit trees offer blossom in spring, fruit to eat, carbon dioxide sequestration, and a fantastic resource for wildlife and pollinators all year round in the form of nesting places and materials, food sources and cover.
In England alone, the total area of gardens is 459 per cent larger than the total area of the national nature reserves, so the potential significance of gardens as a resource for wildlife is clear.
You can find more on the benefits of tree planting to nature from the Wildlife Trust as well as plenty of practical advice on how and where to plant from The Tree Council.
Trees were collected from Petersfield, Alton, Liphook and Rowlands Castle on the morning of Saturday, February 11.
Planting season is coming to an end but you can register your interest for next year’s scheme and you’ll be given priority ordering when the project opens at the end of the year.
Register online at https://petersfieldcan.org/projects/trees