Gardening / Make a big day of planting trees

Prunus “Versicolor”… magical, two-tone spring blossoms.

THIS time of the year is perfect for planting trees, if for no better reason than Sunday, July 29, is National Tree Day (or for schools, Friday, July 27).

Cedric Bryant.

Planet Ark’s first National Tree Day was in 1996 and since then four million people have planted more than 24 million trees. This is Australia’s largest community, tree-planting event to promote the quality of the air, the environment and our quality of life.

This year the National Tree Day theme is to promote planting backyards or even balconies. Always keep in mind the space that’s available. To help, I have listed some suggestions of smaller trees for small backyards. But if there is no space for more trees, then plant shrubs.

Details on joining in the fun as a community or school group at

HERE are some suggestions for small trees for small gardens:.

  • Acer palmatum “Atropurpureum” (maple) 3m x 3m
  • Acer palmatum “Bonfire” (maple) 3m x 2.5m
  • Malus “Gorgeous” (crabapple for jelly) 3m x 3m
  • Lagerstroemia indica (crepe myrtle) 1-3m x 3m
  • Malus “Tom Matthews” (flowering crabapple) 2.5m x 3m
  • Prunus “Versicolor” (flowering peach) 3m x 3m
  • Syringa (lilacs, many varieties) 1.5m x 1.5m to 2.5m x 2.5m

I don’t recommend planting maples in new suburbs with little shelter and exposure to hot, summer winds.

Japanese maples… always present a picture.

TREES are just as important in our central city areas, such as Civic where increasingly the green spaces are disappearing and more huge buildings are erected. Nowadays monoliths of concrete panels bolted together combined with paving at ground level create massive heat banks in summer. Equally, these provide wind tunnels which are so unpleasant for pedestrians.

The obvious answer is trees to take away the blandness of the built area, using perhaps deciduous trees that offer summer shade and allow in the winter sun. As a suggestion, the blank places for trees in Civic could include near the merry-go-round, where trees either died or were vandalised years ago, and could be replaced with super-advanced trees.

BESIDE replacing trees along the tramway, I understand the recent Budget allocation allows for the planting of just 1300 trees this year.

Canberra now has a population of about 440,000. Here’s what can be done by a community in England. St Albans, just outside London, has a district population of 149,000. In 2008 a group of community minded citizens, in conjunction with the English Woodland Trust, set a target of establishing the largest forest of native trees, ie oaks, elms etcetera, in the country covering an area of 347 hectares. The target was 600,000 trees in 10 years. The target was achieved on March 25  with the help of more than 40,000 volunteers. Can you imagine the establishment here of a similar forest in the areas of the old pine plantations?


  • Don’t forget native plants on the day.

    Don’t forget to include some native plants on the day.
  • Work as a group to plant trees in your local area.
  • Think of planting small, flowering trees for spring blossom and autumn colour.



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