Unfortunately, in the UK, species such as bats, butterflies, moths, hedgehogs, hares and sparrows are declining at an alarming rate. In fact, it has been reported that 15% of wildlife species in Great Britain – which equates to almost 1,200 – are under threat of extinction due to changes in the climate.
With that in mind, we can all play a part in providing refuge for these diminishing species by managing our gardens in a way that attracts wildlife. Simply planting a tree can go a long way to helping the life cycle as it provides a reliable source of food and shelter, as well as being a place for wildlife to hibernate, nest and retreat from being hunted.
What type of tree is best to encourage wildlife?
When thinking of adding a tree to their garden, many property owners usually do so for aesthetic purposes, often overlooking the value a tree can bring to wildlife in a garden area.
Here is a list of the most common types of trees and the benefits they can bring to wildlife:
Otherwise known as the ‘Prunus Avium’, the wild cherry tree is one of the earliest fruits to ripen, attracting birds which enjoy eating the fresh produce from the branches. Blossoming in the spring-time, the wild cherry also provides a source of nectar and pollen which attracts a whole host of insects, including moths, beetles and ladybirds.
Much like wild cherry trees, the flowers on a crab apple tree provide early nectar and pollen for insects, such as bees, to devour. This isn’t limited to just insects – the fruit also provides food source for:
Contrary to popular belief, a holly tree isn’t just for Christmas – a garden can benefit from it all year round. A variety of bird species choose to seek refuge in a holly tree, using its distinguishable sharp spikes on the leaves for protection. In fact, these leaves take several years to rot down, providing the perfect place for hedgehogs, toads, mice and much more to hibernate.
Also known as the ‘Pussy Willow’ due to its furry paw-like blossoms, the leaves on a Goat Willow tree make it a popular source of food for insects, including moths and the majestic purple emperor butterfly.
Do bats live in trees?
According to the Bat Conservation Trust, “around three quarters of British bat species are known to roost in trees.” When it comes to food, trees attract an abundance of insect species for bats to eat, including leafhoppers, beetles and flies. As discussed in this article, trees also provide a reliable source of shelter, with various gaps, holes and crevices for bats to roost in.
As such, any trees with cavities, cracks or holes are suitable for bats, with the following being recognised as the most common:
Are bats legally protected in the UK?
As one of the main breeds in rapid decline in Britain, all bat species and their roosts are protected by UK and European laws to prevent the numbers dying out completely. Under such legislation, it is a criminal offence to:
- Deliberately take, injure or kill a bat
- Deliberately disturb a group of bats
- Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost
Who’s responsible for protecting bats during tree works?
Should you need to have tree works such as pruning, pollarding or crowning carried out at your property, it’s important to consider whether the tree could be a potential hotspot for bats. If this is the case, as the land owner it is your responsibility, along with the experts carrying out the work, to ensure that the bats have been taken into consideration before any action is taken. Having bats in the tree does not mean that work must cease, rather it’s imperative to get expert advice to ensure the work is carried out legally.
If you require tree work – including felling, grinding and tree surveys – throughout Rickmansworth, Watford and the wider London area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the award-winning team at Artemis Tree Services today! All work is carried out in line with legal requirements, and everything we cut is turned into biomass for an environmentally friendly solution.