Hundreds enhance gardens thanks to Banbury's big garden tree giveaway

Hundreds of people have taken advantage of a free garden tree giveaway in Banbury.
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Many of 1,000 recipients of free trees turned up at the Bridge Street Gardens, Banbury at the weekend to collect their ‘whips’ to plant while the young trees are dormant, hoping to encourage robust trees growing near their homes next spring.

The giveaway took place as part of National Tree Week when people all over the county collected their gifts secured in this year's Oxfordshire Garden Tree Giveaway, the annual scheme led by International Tree Foundation (ITF), the world's oldest tree planting charity.

Now in its second year, the Garden Tree Giveaway galvanises communities to plant more garden trees, with a focus on deprived areas where tree cover is lowest. Over 1,000 households successfully applied for 3,000 free garden trees.

Starting early - this family collected free trees to plant in their garden to help the environmentStarting early - this family collected free trees to plant in their garden to help the environment
Starting early - this family collected free trees to plant in their garden to help the environment

The Garden Tree Giveaway contributes to Oxfordshire’s commitment to increase its tree canopy cover, reach carbon neutrality by 2030 and carbon zero by 2050.

Since 2021, the scheme has given local communities the opportunity to receive and plant free garden trees. This year's campaign was oversubscribed, boding well for an even bigger Giveaway in 2024.

Those wishing to sign up for free garden trees next summer should apply for the ITF’s newsletter – scroll down to the bottom of this page: https://www.internationaltreefoundation.org/garden-tree-giveaway

ITF spokesman Camilla Leask said: “The Oxfordshire 2023 Garden Tree Giveaway has been a fun, engaging and impactful scheme, distributing free garden trees across the county. Run through the wonderful network of volunteer community action groups and parish councils in Oxfordshire, and supported by International Tree Foundation, this was the second year of the scheme.

The International Tree Foundation gave away 1,000 young trees in the Banbury area as part of National Tree WeekThe International Tree Foundation gave away 1,000 young trees in the Banbury area as part of National Tree Week
The International Tree Foundation gave away 1,000 young trees in the Banbury area as part of National Tree Week

"Building on the success of the Giveaway, we are fundraising to expand the project to reach more parts of the county, focussing on deprived areas where tree cover is lowest.

People can choose up to three trees from a selection of 18 species suitable for gardens – we’ve developed an online 'Garden Tree Guide’ to help them decide. 20 local distributors have been recruited from across the county with support from parish councils and local businesses.”

The species of tree include crab apples, mountain ash, silver birch, field maple, hawthorn and species such as spindle, wayfarer tree and guelder rose for small gardens.

“The Garden Tree Giveaway has so many positive impacts on nature and communities alike,” said Mrs Leask. “The distributors meet hundreds of people in their local area who are wanting to find out more about trees and nature and are able to support those individuals and the aims of the scheme.

Recipients, who applied for trees in August, were able to choose three from a list of 18 garden tree species.Recipients, who applied for trees in August, were able to choose three from a list of 18 garden tree species.
Recipients, who applied for trees in August, were able to choose three from a list of 18 garden tree species.

"Each action in itself is small, but collectively the scheme increases tree cover in Oxfordshire and the benefits that go with that (habitat for nature; carbon storage; shade and cooling; health and wellbeing).”

Neighbourhoods with the highest income levels have more than double the tree cover per person than less affluent neighbourhoods and have nearly 20 per cent less of the toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

For more information on planting young trees see the step by step guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmIidcq4iTQ.

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