Tree Species Selection report 2023

This report has been produced by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) Tree Planting Working Party, working jointly for the Association of Tree Officers (ATO). The working party was chaired by Katerina Hadincova and James Robinson-Tillett, with help from Local Authority Tree Officers, Barcham Trees, Bartlett Tree Experts and Kew Gardens.

The Tree Planting Working Party formed in 2020 with the aim of informing best practice and to encourage high-quality planting across the UK. 

In the United Kingdom, a revolution in how people see, use, and develop the landscape is well underway. Since 2019, formal declarations recognising the ‘Climate Emergency’ have been made by most authorities from Scarborough to Torbay. This widespread acknowledgment of the effects of climate change has increased consideration of the natural world and is supported by various academic and political reports highlighting the role trees play in addressing various climate-related issues. With this enhanced ecological focus, trees are at the forefront of political vision demonstrated by the ever- increasing tree planting targets for Local Authorities, and there has been a noticeable increase in public interest in trees and their protection. The Tree Planting Working Party is exploring the effects of this change in response to trees, how implementation of planting targets will take place, and what information may still be needed. 

The working party set up a sub-committee which focussed on refining planting palettes with the aim of producing a basic guide on urban tree species selection for those who manage trees. It is hoped that this will contribute to promoting sustainable and thriving urban landscapes for generations to come. 

Considering that current practices for species selection are significant to our future landscapes, the working party’s first step was to understand what local authority trends are at present. It sought to identify the most ‘popular’ tree species selected for urban planting by arboriculturists across the UK and released a survey in 2022 which was circulated to members of the ATO and the LTOA. 

This report presents the findings of this survey, both of which are the results of a collaborative effort from the members of the Tree Planting Working Party. 

Please download the full report here