Milton Keynes City Council has published a plan that describes how urban trees will be cared for in ‘Milton Keynes: City of Trees’, with the first project to replace dead or dying trees at Lloyds Court and Midsummer Boulevard starting shortly.
Trees are vital to a city’s ecosystem - storing carbon, improving air quality, promote urban cooling and supporting biodiversity among other benefits. Milton Keynes was always intended to be a place where trees would form part of the urban landscape and the scale of planting in Milton Keynes during the 1970s was unprecedented.
Sadly, in those days less was known about urban planting. Many trees of the same type were planted, which was useful for fast coverage but in the long term has made the trees more susceptible to pests and disease. Additionally, some trees were planted in small holes in paving called tree pits. We know today that the size and type of tree didn’t always match the space where they were planted, which means some have died or are dying.
The new plan sets out a golden rule to use the right tree in the right place, and to use modern tree planting knowledge to improve the tree pits.
In the first project to follow the draft plan, which will be formally considered on 20 June, the city council will be replanting trees on Midsummer Boulevard where trees have been lost due to compacted soil from the tree pit design and root death. New trees and tree pits have been trialled Lloyds Court where up to 80% of the trees on Upper 10th Street had been lost.
New, modern tree pits will be added to the areas, which will then be replanted with more resilient varieties better suited to the environment, including Holm Oak and Honey Locust.
Over the recent autumn and winter planting season, the city council has planted 220 additional trees around the city. Residents can help newly planted trees to flourish by topping up a hydration bag. Any water is fine - rain, tap and even used dishwater.