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Liam Haggerty, Director of Southern Green Landscape Architects has been working with Hull Maritime on the improvements to Queens Gardens and the planting of new trees within the green space.

Last week, Liam surveyed and individually selected and tagged the 99 trees which will be planted in Queens Gardens in the coming months.

Here Liam talks about his visit to the Netherlands and the process to tag each tree and make sure the trees delivered to Queens Gardens are the ones he selected.

It was an early start with a 3am wake-up call and then a 6am flight from Newcastle to Schipol Airport.

Then we had to catch a direct train from Schipol Airport to Nijmegen for an 11am arrival to make our way to the nursery, an accredited supplier in the Netherlands, Ebben Trees.

Boarding the plane in the dark!
A train to Nijmegen

We arrived at the nursery at approximately midday and met the team at the nursery and talk through the next steps.

The team at Ebben Trees gave us a tour of the nursery distribution area before tagging got underway.

Arrive at the nursery

The afternoon consisted of selecting the smaller standard and multi stem trees for the perimeter of the gardens. Once the trees were identified, they were then individually tagged with a tamper proof project specific and numbered tag and recorded so we ensure each specific tree is planted in the correct location.

The tamper proof tag

After a long day of travelling and choosing the first batch of trees I reported back the team at Hull City Council with the progress made and the plan for the next day.

The second day also including further selection and tagging. This time for the larger specimen standard and multi stem trees for the central avenue and the Rose Bowl area surrounding the fountain. Some of the trees are 40 years old already.

In those 40 years, the trees have been maintained yearly by pruning them to create a nice consistent shape and uniform batch to select from.

The tagged Metasequoia trees have a girth size of up to 155cm and a total height of approximately 10m. The rootball size of the trees is 2.15m dia with an average weight of 3500-4500 kg. The largest of the trees were pruned and undercut last year in preparation for their final journey to their new home in Queens Gardens.

Selecting the trees
Each tree is individually tagged
Some of the trees are 40 years old

Once this was complete, we were given a demonstration of how the nursery handle and transplant large specimen trees with large machinery. This was to show us how the trees we have selected will be treated when the trees are lifted and transported to Hull ready for planting in Queens Gardens.

Next steps:

  • A meeting will take place with the main contractor and landscape sub contractor to agree the detailed programme for planting on site (November 2023 to March 2024)
  • This will then allow us to prepare a detailed layout to confirm the sequence in which the trees are lifted from the nursery and root balled, before being transported to site
  • Prior to delivery the tree pits will be prepared, so that where possible the timeframe between delivery and planting can be minimised
  • When the nursery lift the trees using specialist heavy duty machinery with varying tree spades to suit the size of each individual tree, the root balls are first wrapped in hessian, then wrapped in wire mesh. When the trees arrive on site they are planted directly into the soil without removing any of the layers of mesh or material. The hessian and wire will over time naturally decompose, allowing the roots to expand into the surrounding soil unhindered as the trees establish
  • For the planting, a large hole is excavated, minimum diameter and depth – 2x the size of the rootball of each tree, and an underground guying system is installed to secure the rootball and prevent wind rock, allowing the tree to successfully establish
  • Each tree pit will also incorporate an irrigation pipe directly around the rootball, alongside fertiliser and ameliorant as required to give each tree the best possible chance of successful establishment
  • For all trees planted along Guildhall Road within the hard paved areas, additional irrigation/aeration pipes are also included to ensure the root balls have adequate access to both water and air as required
  • Following completion of planting, each tree is watered in, and the surface of each tree pit mulched to help retain moisture/limit evaporation and prevent weed growth within the soil surface immediately surrounding the tree. The contractor will continue to monitor the trees via a 36 month maintenance agreement, during which timeframe they maintain full responsibility for their successful establishment within the gardens.