Project: Tree planting at Pelsall Common, near Walsall

Client: Walsall City Council and Russell Horsey from Goetre Villa Ltd Consultancy

Requirement: 40 trees, to offer year-round interest

Date: January 2020

Project Manager: Jamie Gormley

On 16th January 2020, Hillier Trees was pleased to join a tree planting day at Pelsall Common, near Walsall in the West Midlands. During this positive community day, local residents, council representatives and children from Pelsall Village School joined together to plant a number of the 40 new trees provided by Hillier. These new trees will make a significant impact to the area, bringing welcomed screening to a busy town road, environmental benefits and year-round beauty from the trees.

The brief for this new tree planting project came to Hillier Trees via Walsall Council and Russell Horsey from Goetre Villa Ltd consultancy. Russell works with The Woodland Trust and consults with local authorities, with the goal of increasing the number of trees planted in urban areas. “We have been fortunate enough to work with Russell previously,” comments Jamie Gormley, Account Manager at Hillier Trees. “We certainly share the same ambitions about planting more trees, particularly across our cities.”

This particular brief was very collaborative. “The volunteer tree wardens at Walsall Council had been assisted by Andy Allison, Tree Officer for Birmingham City Council along with Glyn Wilkes, Tree Officer for Walsall Council, to help secure the budget needed to purchase the trees,” says Jamie. “The area in question; Pelsall Common, about three miles north of Walsall, bordered a busy A road lined either side by houses. There was very little in the way of existing trees. So, tree planting here would create a huge and immediate impact as a way of providing screening for the residents between their homes and the road.”

Around 40 trees were requested, with a requirement to offer as much year-round interest as possible. “We proposed a mix of tree varieties,” comments Jamie. These included Prunus ‘Snow Goose’, Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ and Liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon. These are not only good in terms of continued seasons of interest, but this approach also supports biodiversity through mixed planting.”

This project is an example of how trees can be requested and delivered in a relatively short time-frame. “We were approached in late 2019. Russell tagged the trees on our Field Tree Nursery in Andlers Ash, Hampshire. The trees were then lifted as root-balled and delivered in time for the planting ceremony on 16th January 2020.”

Local residents, council representatives and children from Pelsall Village School join together to help plant the new trees 

The planting ceremony itself was a huge success. “There was a fantastic turnout, with media interest from local newspapers,” says Jamie. “This has ensured the message of community planting and fundraising for urban tree planting will continue to grow stronger and stronger.”

“This was a happy, enjoyable event involving tree lovers of all ages,” comments Jackie Cocken, Chair of the Walsall Tree Wardens. “Forty trees of various species were planted as a joint effort by Walsall Tree Wardens and Friends of Pelsall Common. The donors, The Woodland Trust, and provider Hillier Trees sent representatives from far afield and agreed that this was one of the best-attended planting events they had been part of recently.

“Very positive comments were repeated regarding the enthusiasm and proficiency of the volunteer workforce and the quality of the selected trees.”

Key Trees

Prunus ‘Snow Goose’

This cherry produces fantastic white blossom in the spring and is a delight for bees and insects.

Prunus litigiosa 

Also known as the Tassel Cherry. This tree produces large flowers with bright golden pollen that hangs low on the anthers, like droplets of gold caught on silky spider threads.

Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ 

A variety of hawthorn with a profusion of miniature roses that bloom with colour in late spring.

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ 

A fantastic tree with a striking autumn display of neon purples and fiery shades of red.

Prunus ‘Sunset Boulevard’ 

As the name suggests, this variety of cherry offers beautiful displays of sunset-hued colour throughout autumn.