Elm Trees For Hardings Park

In 2017 Gillingham Town Council launched its five-year Pollinator Action Plan and a commitment to raise awareness of the importance of all pollinators which are essential for food production and consequently our lives. On Thursday, 15th March 2018, 24 no. Elm trees were planted at Hardings Park with the assistance of Year 1 pupils from Gillingham Primary School.

Native Elms are prone to disease, especially as they reach maturity, but the new varieties that have been developed on the continent have proved disease resistant and are now being planted in the UK alongside native elms to improve the biodiversity of hedges and woodlands. The two Elm varieties chosen for Hardings Park are most suited for heavy clay soils and have been supplied by Peter Shallcross of Wallmead Farm, Tisbury, Wiltshire.

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation (BC) is highly supportive of this project and their Conservation Officer, Patrick Cook said:

“It’s brilliant that Gillingham Town Council are making positive steps towards helping pollinators and in particular butterflies such as the White-letter Hairstreak. Planting a mixture of native, naturalised and disease resistant elm should benefit the White-letter Hairstreak, whose sole foodplant is Elm. We hope that many councils will follow the excellent example being provided by Gillingham Town Council in order to improve our urban areas for pollinator species.”

The tree planting is part of the Town Council’s commitment to plant more trees and, where possible, in conjunction with primary school aged children under the ‘global initiative - One Tree Per Child.

The Mayor of Gillingham, Cllr Belinda Ridout said:

“It is always a pleasure to plant a tree knowing that it will provide a valuable resource for generations to come. When a child volunteers to plant a tree it is even more special because this provides an opportunity for a child to measure their own development with that of the tree”.

BVM Elm Tree Planting at Hardings Park 2

 Children of Hedgehog Class at Gillingham Primary School, Dorset, tree planting with the Mayor, Cllr Belinda Ridout, courtesy of the BVM Magazine.

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