Tree Wardens


Thirty Tree Warden networks around the country have received commemorative elm trees

As many of you know, the terrible impact of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s plays an important role in The Tree Council’s history. The charity was established in 1974 as part of the national replanting effort which inspired the nation to get out and restore our treescapes. So we were delighted when a Tree Warden suggested planting disease-resistent elm trees to commemorate thirty years of tree wardening.

It was Jo Parmenter, a Tree Warden in Broadlands, Norfolk, who sparked the idea last year. “Elm trees were once a feature of the East Anglian landscape,” she told us, “but before I was really able to identify and properly appreciate them, they disappeared, over an all-too-brief period, as a consequence of Dutch Elm Disease. It will be wonderful to have an opportunity to bring a healthy standard elm tree back to the village; hopefully the first of many; so that future generations may enjoy them.”

We had an overwhelming response to this opportunity, and selecting the lucky recipients was a very difficult decision. Many of you wrote in to share with us your reasons for wanting to plant a tree in your community in recognition of your fantastic local Tree Wardens. We want to thank everyone for taking the time to send us their stories and applications, and we hope there’ll be more opportunities like this in the future.

These wonderful Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ trees, can withstand many challenges including floods, sub-zero temperatures, inner-city pollution, poor soils, central reservations and salt-laden coastal roadsides! Unlike other new cultivars that have succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease, New Horizon is not affected and is great for wildlife too.

It was a pleasure to hear why Tree Wardens were keen to plant an Elm tree in their local area. Here is a short selection of your stories:

Andrew Shaw, Leicestershire Tree Warden Network, “The Tree Warden Scheme was pioneered in Leicestershire in the early 1980s…to improve the management of newly planted trees particularly on parish council land… An Elm tree planted in recognition of Tree Wardens in Leicestershire would be a wonderful way to mark 30 years of the national scheme and thank local tree wardens for their time and dedication to trees and their communities.”

Sam Harpur, Coordinator for Brecon Beacons TW network, “Elm trees were a prominent feature in the Brecon Beacons and their loss through Dutch Elm Disease had a significant impact on the landscape. The aim to plant a resilient Elm species will not only help to highlight tree planting in the national park; but will also hopefully inspire the planting of more Elm trees in the future, so that they can once again become a common sight in the landscape. The planting of an Elm tree will also celebrate the launch of the relationship with the Tree Council and Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.”

Nikki Warden, Tree Warden for Sandwich, Kent, “It would be an honour to receive such a symbolic tree to mark the 30-year Anniversary of the TW scheme and to publicly acknowledge the valuable work of the local voluntary Tree Wardens supported by the Tree Council.”

Christine Rumney, Solihull Tree Wardens, “We would like to plant an Elm Tree to celebrate 30 years. of the national Tree Warden scheme which also coincides with the Solihull Tree Wardens 20 years anniversary! 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, in particular for Solihull Tree Wardens as we sadly lost our Chair, Don Hitchcock who founded the group back in 2000.  Don’s death at the beginning of lockdown was unexpected and was a tremendous shock and great loss to the group. The New Horizon Elm tree symbolizes new beginnings and this has become the focus of Solihull Tree Wardens.”

Tom Blundell, Frodsham, supported by Wirral Tree Warden Network, I have been a member of the tree group for more than 40 years and remember the ‘plant a tree in ’73, plant some more in ’74, keep the alive in ’75 campaign. ……. There is a small population of Wych elm within 100 yards if the proposed site which supports a colony of white-letter hairstreaks (irecords of which have been submitted to records and authenticated by Butterfly Conservation). We would like to have a disease resistant Elm planted in the wood to ensure the survival of the White-letter hairstreak which is not a common butterfly in this area.”

A full list of the networks that elms have been sent to:

  • Brecon Beacons
  • Broadlands
  • Camelford
  • Charvil
  • Cotswold
  • Coventry
  • Dibbinsdale
  • Eastleigh
  • Erewash
  • Frodsham
  • Glenfield
  • Great Waldingfield
  • Haywards Heath
  • Herne Bay
  • Horndean
  • Leicestershire
  • Lewes
  • Nutfield
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Portsmouth and Southsea
  • Reading
  • Sidmouth
  • Sandwich
  • Solihull
  • Stowmarket
  • Walsall
  • West Lancashire
  • Wittersham
  • Wokingham
  • Woodbury
A map of the locations of the 30 elms