As the UK works towards ambitious tree planting targets, the RHS has announced it is recruiting a tree scientist to advise gardeners on the species best suited to withstand and help minimise the impact of climate change.
A five-year fellowship, jointly funded by the charity and by the horticulture industry, through the generous support of Frank P Matthews Nursery, will identify those trees that will perform well in the future amid more extreme weather events and a changing climate.
Trees, as with other garden plants, are expected to play an even greater role in providing all important environmental services including mitigating flooding, helping cool urban areas and capturing carbon and pollution. The research conducted will provide gardeners, industry and policymakers with planting guides specific to varying situations.
Mark Gush, Head of Environmental Horticulture at the RHS, said:
“By virtue of their diversity and size, as well as their unique structural and functional attributes, trees have the capacity to deliver multiple ecosystem services at various levels of effectiveness. With thousands of different trees available to gardeners in the UK we hope to identify key characteristics and species likely to have the biggest impact in mitigating the worst excesses of our changing climate.”
Nick Dunn, CEO of Frank P Matthews Nursery, added:
“It is important now that we find real facts to support the theories and I feel we have a good chance to identify the best trees for gardens and landscape for our changing climate…very exciting!”
The tree scientist will be based at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey where a new Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning will open in 2020/21. More information (www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/opportunities)
The fellowship was unveiled at the annual RHS John MacLeod Lecture held last night in London where urban tree planting was discussed by guest speaker Dr Andrew Hirons from University Centre, Myerscough. The lecture is available to view at www.rhs.org.uk/science/articles/john-macleod-annual-lecture.
For more information about gardening in a changing climate please visit www.rhs.org.uk/science/gardening-in-a-changing-world/climate-change