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Planting native trees in your garden help to reduce carbon emissions and help prevent the decline in local wildlife by providing them with a source of food and shelter.

You can find a comprehensive list by the Woodland Trust here.

Trees suitable for smaller gardens include:

  • Alder. The catkins provide an early source of pollen for bees, and the seeds are eaten by birds such as the siskin, redpoll and goldfinch.

  • Bird cherry. The cherries are eaten by birds such as the blackbird and song thrush, and also by badgers and wood mice.

  • Crab apple. The flowers provide a source of early pollen for bees. The fruits are eaten by many species of bird and mammals such as wood mice, voles and badgers.

  • Dogwood. The flowers are visited by insects, the berries are eaten by many mammals and birds, and the leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of some moths.

  • Holly. This plant provides various birds with food and shelter from winter storms and predators. It is also one of the main food sources for the holly blue butterfly caterpillar. The leaf litter beneath the tree may also be used by toads, hedgehogs and other small mammals for hibernation.

  • Goat willow. The leaves are eaten by several moths such as the sallow kitten. It is also the main food plant for the purple emperor butterfly.

For larger gardens, any tree from the first list would be suitable, or you can plant:

  • Blackthorn. It provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees in spring. Its leaves are a food source for many moths, such as the lackey, magpie and yellow-tailed. Birds often nest among the dense thickets.

  • Wild cherry. A huge number of species of birds eat the cherries when they are ripe. The blossom also provides an early source of nectar for many insects.

  • Elder. The flowers provide nectar for insects and the berries are eaten by birds and mammals. Small mammals such as the bank vole eat both the berries and flowers. Many moths feed on elder foliage, such as the white spotted pug and buff ermine. You can also cook with the elderberries.

  • Hawthorn. This species of tree can support more than 300 species of insect. The flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar for pollinating insects. The haws are eaten by many migrating birds such as redwings, and you can even cook with them to make jellies, wines and ketchups.

  • Hazel. This tree is associated with the hazel dormouse, which eats the caterpillars it finds on the tree as well as the nuts to fatten up for winter. Hazelnuts are also eaten by woodpeckers, jays and nuthatches as well as mammals such as the squirrel, wood mouse and bank vole. They are, of course, also edible for humans.

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