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Tree planting and watering

Help to boost the number of trees within the London Borough of Richmond.

Tree planting

The climate emergency poses a significant challenge and trees play a key role in helping us to adapt to changing conditions.

Thus, we are committed to increasing the benefits of trees through increasing the canopy cover across the borough.

For more information on our commitment to tree planting, view:

Our tree planting season runs from November to the end of March each year. During this period, we undertake a programme of planting replacements for trees that have been lost, as well as planting trees in new locations. View the list of planting locations for the 2023-2024 planting season.

Tree watering

We employ a specialist arborist contractor to plant and care for trees. The contractor carries out a programme of watering, which begins in April and continues throughout the growing season. We have a baseline watering frequency of ten visits per year. However, this is dependent upon weather conditions, so during hot and dry spells we operate increased watering regimes. We will monitor the condition of the tree to ensure that it is receiving adequate aftercare.

Help us keep young trees healthy

With increasing risk of heatwaves and drought, community watering to support Council efforts is becoming increasingly important, especially as we have over 1,800 young trees to attend to across the borough.

With help from the community, we can ensure our trees are able to thrive, accelerating growth rates and maximising the benefits they bring to people and biodiversity.

During hot and dry conditions, you can support us by watering newly planted street trees, following these simple instructions:

  • Use two watering cans (containing around 10 litres of water in total) per tree, ideally every two days
  • Half the water (about 5 litres) should be poured into the installed watering tube and half poured over the surface of the tree pit (see picture). This is best done in the evenings or early mornings, to reduce water loss through evaporation that is more likely during the day
  • Where possible, we encourage the use of collected rainwater and grey water (for example bath or washing up water – water containing soap isn’t a problem)
  • Please communicate with your neighbours, to help coordinate watering efforts, share the load and prevent overwatering

Replacing trees

We are committed to re-planting, after tree removal, as part of the commitment within the Corporate Plan and in response to the Climate Emergency:

  • When a tree is removed before 31 July, we aim to replant it in the next planting season, which runs from November of the year of removal, to March the following year 
  • When a tree is removed after 31 July, we aim to replant it in the season after next, which runs from November of the year following removal to March of the year after that 
  • Newly planted or young trees that fail or are damaged will be removed in the next available planting season, regardless of the removal date

Please contact us if you have a query about replacing trees.

After trees are removed the stumps are ground down and either a new pit is created straight away, or the pavement is repaired and temporarily paved over until the new pit can be created, in preparation for a new tree. Please note, tree stumps are not ground down immediately following removal. They are left in situ, at a specified height, so that they are not a trip hazard.

Tree planting suggestions and donations

Many residents like to make tree planting suggestions and sometimes, generously offer to make donations.

Whilst we greatly value and appreciate the importance of these suggestions and donations, we do not accept requests for tree species and tree planting locations, nor contributions toward the cost of tree planting.

However, we are currently conducting a borough wide survey of potential planting locations which will include your neighbourhood.

Please note that all trees are planted in accordance with the our sustainable planting tree policy, in which we aim to: 

  • Plant the right tree in the right place and where appropriate this will give priority to planting native trees
  • Plant within the location of the tree that has been removed. Where existing site constraints mean that this is not possible a tree will be planted in the nearest possible suitable location
  • Encourage species and genetic diversity amongst its tree population to avoid risk of disease having widespread and damaging effects and to provide variety to those living in or visiting the Borough 

Commemorative trees

Sadly, we cannot plant or allow the planting of commemorative trees. This is because we cannot guarantee that the tree is going to establish or be free from vandalism, the result of which can be very distressing for the families involved. 

We do however run a commemorative benches scheme. For more information view Memorial seats in parks.

Up to: Trees

Updated: 01 December 2023

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