2000 new trees to join Oxford’s urban forest

Published: Friday, 22nd November 2019

Oxford Direct Services is working with community groups to plant 2000 new trees and shrubs across Oxford’s urban forest during Tree Week, to improve the city’s treescape and benefit the environment.

National Tree Week is taking place from Saturday 23 November – Sunday 1 December to mark the beginning of the winter tree planting season (November – March).

Planting locations

The Parks Team will be working with local community groups and volunteers to plant the trees and shrubs across the city:

  • Croft Road, Marston with members of Marston community gardening group
  • Ruskin College Oxford, with student volunteers
  • Rosehill Recreation Ground with the school and youth club, and members of Low Carbon Rosehill and Iffley
  • Cutteslowe and Sunnymead park with members of Low Carbon Oxford North

Oxford Direct Services will be providing training, transportation of the trees, and support alongside the Tree Council to community groups involved in planting - to allow communities to take ownership of their sites in the future.

The city-wide project has been funded by Woodland Trust, the International Tree Foundation and Oxford Direct Services.

Why trees matter

New data from Oxford City Council’s iTreeSurvey, completed with Treeconomics, shows how important trees are in an urban environment. Every tree in the city form parts of Oxford’s Urban Forest.

The study estimates that the city’s urban forest contains 248,200 trees, which benefits the estimated 154,600 people living in Oxford. At nearly two trees per person this is double the ratio for London.

The review found:

  • Oxford’s urban forest removes an estimated 2,500 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year
  • The urban forest filters an estimated 65 tonnes of airborne pollutants each year
  • Oxford’s trees intercept around 255,000 cubic metres of rain water each year – avoiding an estimated £81,000 in storm water treatment costs
  • Trees are estimated to cover 15.9% of Oxford, but overall canopy cover is estimated to be 22.3% when shrub cover is included
  • There are 73 species of trees in Oxford
  • The most common trees are Ash, Willow, and Poplar

Oxford’s urban forest

The review surveyed 200 randomly allocated plots across Oxford. Details measured include the species, height, diameter of the trunk and canopy spread. Location of the trees, including the land use and the ground cover, was also collected to build a picture of the structure and composition of Oxford’s urban forest.

Oxford’s urban forest is made up of all the city’s trees, woody shrubs, hedgerows, and woodlands in the city area - included everything from garden trees to green spaces at institutions and local authority parks.

A full report on Oxford’s detailed tree survey will be published next year which will support the City Council in how it can improve and maintain Oxford’s urban forest.

“At our recent Citizen Assembly on Climate Change, Assembly Members were very clear that all biodiversity, including trees, was central to the overall ‘net zero’ vision for Oxford.  Our city has a rich landscape of greenspaces that capture water, clean the air and have lots of wildlife.  These headline findings show how much trees and shrubs contribute positively to our living environment, and the full report will help us improve how we manage this important resource.”

Jo Colwell, Service Manager Environmental Sustainability, Oxford City Council

“This is a great example of ODS working with the community and making an important contribution to Oxford’s rich environment. We will be planting 2000 trees over the week and working with schools and colleges to develop community Woodlands at Marston, Rosehill and Sunnymead.”

Julian Cooper, Countryside supervisor, Oxford Direct Services