5 September 2022
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When great minds think alike

In one residential street in the middle of the borough of Harrow, two residents who live opposite each other, and unbeknown to each other both applied to sponsor a new tree outside their houses.

Harrow council’s tree team came out and planted these two trees in May, and not long afterwards we paid them both a visit.

Step up, Shelagh

Our first port of call was Shelagh, a retired teacher and keen bowls player, who understands and appreciates the benefits that trees can bring to an area.

The council’s tree team has planted an Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Robin Hill’, or Serviceberry outside her house. This tree is a great choice because it produces beautiful flowers in Spring and a vibrant red/orange display in Autumn.

Shelagh’s tree came with a large protective cage, two wooden stakes, and a watering bag. Quite an impressive set-up, that will help this beautiful tree withstand whatever street life throws at it.

Watering the tree

When someone sponsors a tree, they have the option to water it themselves or for the council to take care of it.

Shelagh is watering the tree herself, by filling up the watering bag a couple of times a week.
We discussed how it is hard to overwater a tree, but easy to underwater one. The watering bags that come with the trees can hold up to 30 litres, and slowly let the water percolate into the roots of the tree to keep the water levels adequate for healthy growth.

For more info on watering, take a look at our guide.

New for old

Shelagh told us that there used to be a tree outside her house for many years, but it had recently died, as had many other trees on her street. So, when she heard about the Trees for Streets scheme it sounded perfect, as it meant that she was easily able to have a new tree planted.

All she had to do was enter her postcode on our website, select the Harrow Council scheme, and pick a spot for the tree to be planted in using our interactive map. We took care of the rest, and Harrow Council planted the tree earlier this year.

Everybody needs good neighbours

Shelagh was pleasantly surprised to see that Adil, her neighbour opposite, had also sponsored a tree.

She thinks that having some more trees in their street would make it look so much nicer, particularly now that so many people have sacrificed their garden space for parking.

Adil’s tree

We said our goodbyes to Shelagh, crossed the road, and knocked on Adil’s door. He seemed delighted to see us and was very happy with the new tree.

We had a good chat with Adil and he told us why he wanted to sponsor a tree. Adil said that he remembers a time when his street had a lovely show of blossom each spring, but over the years some of these trees have died. And when driveways were put in place, the opportunity for planting decreased.

Re-greening the street

But Adil is determined to turn the tide. He is now working with us to see whether other residents would be prepared to get involved in sponsoring additional tree planting so that once more, the street can both regain its blossoming springtime glory, and simply become greener.

We’ll be working with Adil and his local council to support him in raising awareness of the scheme with his neighbours.

We often find that once one neighbour sponsors a tree it is the trigger for others to do so.

The power of street trees

Both Adil and Shelagh understand the importance of street trees. They help us by:

  • Improving our mental and physical health 
  • Absorbing air pollution
  • Protecting from flooding
  • Encouraging calm and careful driving 
  • Giving wildlife a home
  • Reducing littering and fly-tipping
  • Making the neighbourhoods where we live nicer and more pleasant.

Sponsor a tree on your street

If you’d also like to get involved and help fill your street with trees, then please use our online sponsorship request app, which lets you pick a location and make your donation in a few simple steps.

Click the yellow button below to get started.