Example tree labelling

Tree Matters
Graham Jack, November 2023

   According to Harrow Council’s Arboricultural asset officer (who keeps track of the borough’s trees) we have over 400 in our park: some common and instantly recognisable; some rare and less easy to identify; some native to the British Isles; and some exotic imports.

    Those of us who grew up in the UK or Europe can probably recognise some of our most common trees, such as the oak, horse chestnut, or silver birch.  But can we tell a beech from a hornbeam? Or identify those huge trees which line our streets and shed their bark regularly?  On the other hand, if you have recently settled in Harrow from Africa, Hong Kong, or other far-off places, then even those most common trees may be unfamiliar to you.

    If you’ve ever admired a particular tree and wondered what it’s called, or wanted to know more about it, then Bill Stephenson, our “park champion”, has for many years been nursing an ambition to help you. Your HRUA committee loves a challenge, so we have launched our Tree Labelling & Awareness Project to realise that ambition, so that in the future you can identify trees in the Park and elsewhere.

We have adopted three main goals for our project:

    Phase 1 has been underway since the spring of 2023, and so far we have labels fixed to 30 trees (a mix of common UK trees and other trees of interest).  Each label gives the tree's common and scientific name (aka “Latin name”), plus a QR code that links to more information.

    We have also also published a free "Tree Plan" leaflet, showing where to find each tree.  Ask a HRUA Volunteer for a copy, or you can use the link below to download a printable copy.

    In October, the Mayor, Cllr. Ramji Chauhan, joined us for our annual Autumn Tree Walk, with John Wells. He spent nearly 2 hours learning about the park's trees, and then inaugurated our Tree Labeling and Awareness project - fixing up a label using a shiny new hammer, specially purchased for the occasion!

Harrow's Mayor, Cllr. Chauhan launching the project, assisted by our tree expert John Wells - photo: Alison Chester

Detail from our Tree Plan leaflet - source HRUA

    We have lots of ideas for future phases, including developing a “Tree Discovery Trail” and developing further information about trees of interest in the park, such as the Mayoral tree avenues.

    In the meantime, get yourselves out and explore our wonderful trees in the park - with the assistance of the plan and the labels, of course!

Have your say...

    We welcome your thoughts, views and comments on the project - please email info@harrowrec.org.uk to tell us what you think, or to get involved. 

    The project is being run with assistance from Harrow Council and our expert dendrologist, John Wells, and with funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) – a government programme whose objectives include promoting “people’s pride in the places they love…”.

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