Trees are the lungs of our community giving us untold environmental, health and wildlife benefits. Climate change and the natural ageing of the trees, means it is vital that we plant more trees as well as maintain their number and diversity – encouraging more wildlife as well as seasonal interest.
This is really important because it helps mitigate climate change. The trees regulate ambient temperatures (urban heat island effect), filter pollutants and dust, sequester (suck up) carbon, attenuate storm-water, mitigate flooding and preserves biodiversity.
In area the park is about 1.75 hectares or 4.3 acres and currently (2019) has 158 trees of around 80 different species. There is a large bank of very mature and old trees including rare Elm trees that form an important part of Brighton’s National Collection of surviving Elms.
Trees are also supercities for creatures. Over 350 different insects have been recorded on a single oak tree. These insects attract birds and create huge biodiversity in our city. Secondly – and just as importantly – is to help combat pollution. Trees can intercept and absorb air pollution and the larger the better. The biggest trees in our park might absorb 70 times more pollutants than our smaller garden trees so it’s vital we look after these big giants!
Whilst all trees help clean the air, you might be interested to know that some species perform better than others. That’s why we will be doing what we can to introduce species that are suited to the microclimate of the park, that offer the greatest biodiversity and also complement the character of the park in the future.
What is the oldest tree in the park?
The Field Elm (Ulmus minor ‘Sarniensis’), by the café is about 170 years old – that’s older than the park itself! It was planted about 45 years before Alderman John George Blaker donated the park to the people in 1894.
What is the rarest tree?
The rare Golden Elm (Ulmus × hollandica ‘Wredei’), located to the south of the tennis courts is a very special tree. It has been awarded as a TROBI Champion (tree register of the British Isles), which lists just 2% of our most exceptional and rare trees. It is one of the most remarkable elm trees for it’s colour and rarity and a fine contribution to Brighton’s National Collection of elm trees.
Are there any other notable trees?
The Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is an unusual species, native to North America. It is located in the playground next to the toilet block and it is very large, showing off its distinctive shaped leaves which turning butter-yellow in autumn. The most notable feature of the tree is the curious large, green-yellow tulip shaped flowers produced in June and July – only produced by older trees.