How to Create a Mini Forest in Your Community
Mini forests cover only a small area of land, known for being extensively dense with fast growing native tree species. Not only do mini forests transform barren landscapes into luscious green spaces, their vegetation also provides habitat for a wildlife; insects and birds, lessens the risk of flooding and purify’s the air we breathe.
Mini forest’s demonstrate the variety of trees that we commonly see in Greater Manchester – from native species such as English Oak to apple trees. Planting a tree yourself provides a range of benefits as well as giving you the pleasure of seeing it grow for many years.
Why plant a tree
Trees are one of the best solutions to our climate emergency – living tools that help our towns and cities cope in a rapidly changing climate. Trees help improve poor air quality, the trees in Greater Manchester take out 847 tonnes of pollutants, whilst also reducing the risk of flooding, slowing the flow of over 1.6 million m3 of storm water. Trees also boost our own wellbeing by making us healthier and happier – exercising in area with plants and trees can reduce mental ill health by 50%. Trees also create habitats for wildlife – did you know the English Oak can support over 280 species of insects?
Things to consider when choosing your tree.
Planting a tree can be one of the most rewarding and enduring things we do. It can be done quickly, cheaply and without any specialist tools or materials. Things that you should consider.
- The space you have for the height, spread of the tree as well as the roots.
- What characteristics do you want e.g., blossom, evergreen, fruit producing?
- The sunlight, soil, and moisture your green space provides.
- If you do not own the land you are planting on, you must get the permission of the landowner before planting.
- Planting a tree will impact the local landscape so it can be useful to discuss plans with neighbours and the local community to avoid any potential conflicts in the future and to involve more people in your exciting project.
The right tree for your green space
There is a huge choice of varieties and sizes available from nurseries; and they should be able to advise you on the type and variety that suits your needs. Some popular small trees that are suitable for smaller urban spaces are:
Acer griseum (paperbark maple) – A beautiful small tree with bark flaking and curling back to reveal cinnamon-coloured.
Crataegus laeviagata ‘Pauls scarlet’(hawthorn) – A small, rounded deciduous thorny tree with glossy leaves. Flowers light red.
Betula utilis ‘Jaquemontii’ (Himalayan birch)- A deciduous tree, with brilliant white bark on the trunk and larger branches; leaves turn yellow in autumn
Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Ballerina’ AGM – Profuse white spring flowers before the bronze tinted young leaves emerge. Good autumn leaf tints.
Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’ AGM – This has white flowers in June followed by masses of showy bright orange-red fruits.
Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’ AGM – This has white flowers in late spring. Pale yellow fruits
When to plant your trees
The best time to plant trees is when they are not growing, trees are dormant between September and March. If trees are sold in a pot or plug of compost they can be planted at any time of the year.
Prepare your site
Any other plants, including grass will compete for water and nutrients in the soil as your tree establishes itself. Remove any grass and weeds from where your tree is being planted and plant at least 2 metres away from any other trees or large shrubs.
Plant your tree
All you need is a spade and your tree. If your tree has been in a container dig a pit that is
- One and a half times as wide as the root ball of the tree
- About the same depth as the container
If the roots of the tree are dry you can soak the root ball before planting, as well as providing any necessary support for your tree using stakes or canes depending on size.
Looking after your tree after planting
It is important to water your tree while it gets established – in a dry summer this could be up to three times a week, giving it a good soaking each time.
To avoid weeds growing back straight away you can cover the area where you have planted your tree with a mulch such as tree bark – make sure that none of the mulch covers the tree stem as this can lead to rotting.
Happy tree planting!
Other things you may be interested in
If you’re feeling inspired to now create your very own Living Pallet Wall, make sure you let us know on social media! Stay tuned for exciting projects on the horizon.
If you’d like to speak to a member of our landscape or communities team about implementing something similar in your community, don’t hesitate to get in touch: