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The Trees of Tithe Green Natural Burial

Posted by Tracey Gelder on
The Trees of Tithe Green Natural Burial

When you choose a natural burial or interment at Tithe Green Natural Burial, you have the option of either a woodland or wildflower meadow location. When you go for the first of these, it is partnered with a memorial tree planting to both mark the spot and help support the local environment.

Of course, there doesn’t need to be a burial or interment – you could just purchase a tree plus a memorial plaque if you wanted. That will still give you a place to remember your lost loved one, but with useful extra benefits. Because each tree can absorb about 40kg of carbon dioxide every year, they can significantly cut the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

What is a memorial tree?

A memorial tree acts as a positive and life-affirming way of remembering a lost friend or family member. By having a name plaque attached (in our case, the plaque is made out of natural Welsh slate), you can ensure your friend or family member is remembered for years into the future, while also giving you and others somewhere to treasure their memory in peace and harmony with nature.

What types of memorial trees can be planted at Tithe Green Natural Burial?

The first thing to say about the memorial tree types at Tithe Green Natural Burial is that they are all native species that will perfectly fit into the woodland in which they are planted. 

These are the trees that we have carefully selected:

Beech Tree

Deciduous

Scientific name: Fagus sylvatica

Appearance: Beech trees can grow to over 40 metres in height. Their leaves are oval with a pointed tip and wavy edges and turn gold or copper in autumn.

Lifespan: Up to 300 years naturally, or up to 1,000 years when coppiced.

Wildlife: The seeds of Beech trees – known as mast – are only generated once every two to six years and are very popular food for rodents, badgers, deer and squirrels. They also represent an important habitat for many types of butterflies, while the foliage is a popular food for moth caterpillars. 

Did you know? Sliced thinly, beech wood was used for writing on and was used to make the first books. It was known as ‘boc’ by the Anglo-Saxons, which is where we get the word ‘book’.

Wild Cherry Tree

cherry tree

Deciduous

Scientific name: Prunus avium

Appearance: The wild cherry can grow up to 30 metres tall. Its oval leaves are 6-15cm long and fade to beautiful crimson and orange colours in autumn. It has white, cup-shaped flowers that hang in clusters of up to six.

Lifespan: Up to 60 years.

Wildlife: The wild cherry is loved by gardeners and wildlife alike, with its berries being particularly popular with blackbirds and thrushes, as well as mammals like badgers, dormice and wood mice. The appropriately named cherry bark and cherry fruit are just two of the many moth caterpillars to be found making their home in its foliage.

Did you know? The wild cherry has a close association with the cuckoo, and it used to be said that a cuckoo could not stop singing until it had had three good meals of cherries. Meanwhile, the resin of the wild cherry tree was dissolved in wine and used to treat kidney stones and gallstones.

Lime Tree

Deciduous

Scientific name: Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’

Appearance: This magnificent tree grows in height to about 12-17 metres and has a spread of 4-8 metres. A clone of the classic small-leaved lime, it has small, heart-shaped leaves that are dark green on the surface, light green underneath and turn a golden yellow in autumn. It produces cream-coloured flowers in July.

Lifespan: Over 70 years.

Wildlife: Aphids are attracted to our lime trees, providing a valuable source of food for many different bird species, as well as ladybirds and hoverflies. Bees enjoy the tree’s pollen and nectar, while moth caterpillars enjoy feeding on the leaves. 

Did you know? The small-leaved lime is seen as an indicator of ancient woodland.

Hazel Tree

hazel tree

Deciduous

Scientific name: Corylus avellana

Appearance: Hazel trees can grow to 12 metres in height, although usually they’ll be smaller as a result of coppicing. They have a smooth, grey-brown bark which tends to peel with age. The leaves are oval to round, are soft to the touch and turn yellow in autumn.

Lifespan: Up to 80 years, but this can be several hundred years when coppiced.

Wildlife: When coppiced, hazel trees provide shelter for ground nesting birds, including yellowhammers, willow warblers and nightjars. The yellow catkins are good for early bee pollen, while the nuts are a popular source of food for dormice. The leaves are food for more than 70 types of butterfly and moth caterpillars.

Did you know? The hazel tree was equated with wisdom and inspiration by the Celts, while its pliant wood has made it a popular choice for making staffs, walking sticks and shepherds’ crooks.

Rowan Tree

rowan tree

Deciduous

Scientific name: Sorbus aucuparia

Appearance: Rowan trees grow to up to 15 metres in height. Their leaves contain 5-8 pairs of serrated ‘leaflets’, while in autumn they produce bright red berries that are dispersed by migrating birds.

Lifespan: Up to 200 years.

Wildlife: Apart from the birds attracted to its berries – which include the mistle thrush, the song thrush, blackbirds and fieldfare – the rowan tree is also popular with bees and other pollinators for its pollen and nectar and with moth caterpillars such as the apple fruit moth and the autumn green carpet.

Did you know? Although it is also known as mountain ash, and has similar leaves to the ash tree, they are in fact separate species. The rowan tree has strong and flexible wood that has been used for making longbows and tool handles.

Crab Apple Tree

crab apple tree

Deciduous

Scientific name: Malus sylvestris

Appearance: Crab apple trees can grow to a height of about ten metres. Their branches and twigs can become gnarled and twisted, while the leaves are oval in shape, about 6cm long and have rounded teeth. 

Lifespan: Up to 100 years.

Wildlife: The crab apple’s fruit is savoured by birds like thrushes, crows and blackbirds along with mammals such as voles, mice, foxes and badgers. Moth caterpillars making their home there include the eyed hawk-moth and the green pug.

Did you know? Known by the Celts as the ‘Tree of Love’, the crab apple is an ancestor of modern cultivated apple trees, but many trees thought to be genuine crab apples may actually be descended from discarded cores of cultivated apples. A 1979 survey in Durham found that only 1% of 3,000 hedgerow crab apple trees surveyed were authentic native species.

Whitebeam Tree

whitebeam tree

Deciduous

Scientific name: Sorbus aria

Appearance: A domed, compact tree that grows to about 15 metres in height. It has smooth, grey twigs and bark, with oval leaves that have an irregularly serrated edge. When they first start to unfold, the whitebeam’s leaves resemble magnolia flowers before turning a rich russet colour in autumn.

Lifespan: 70-80 years.

Wildlife: The leaves, flowers and berries of the whitebeam attract moth caterpillars, pollinators and birds respectively, while the birds also enjoy feasting on the moths.

Did you know? Known as chess apples in North West England, the whitebeam’s berries become edible when nearly rotten.

If you would like your final resting place to be at the base of one of these beautiful trees, get in touch with the team at Tithe Green Natural Burial to find out more about our stunning woodland burial sites.

Note: Much of the information contained in this article was sourced from the Woodland Trust’s A-Z of British Trees.

 

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