Churchyard Nature Note with Andrew Tompsett

July 2017

Trees both beautiful and beneficial

Our churchyard has many and various kinds of trees and as we see them come into full leaf, I wonder how many of us, whilst enjoying the dappled shade and the beauty of their foliage, give a thought to how important trees are to all of us who live on this earth.

Green trees, like all green plants, create food for their own use by combining carbon dioxide from the air with water and minerals from the soil, using energy from sunshine in the presence of chlorophyll, that magical green pigment in leaves. This is used to grow and enhance the whole structure, in most cases producing flowers, either inconspicuous or showy and seeds or fruit.

Someone, I don’t know who, calculated this activity for one large tree in one single summer day……….

Take as an example, measurements which could easily relate to a tree the size of one of the two Limes growing along the side of our central pathway in the churchyard.

Here are some facts:

One tree is likely to have about one million leaves in the summer.

One tree will draw up from its roots about 600 litres of water per sunny day.

One tree will take in 30kg of carbon dioxide per day and return enough oxygen for 24 people.

On a world scale, trees are extremely important, and together with green organisms in the sea keep the air we breathe clean and healthy. Unfortunately, we are producing carbon dioxide faster than these natural processes can deal with it and it is now proven that this is altering our climate and causing sea levels to rise. One would think that those who plant and maintain trees should receive some reward for the public service they perform. This seems to have been missing in the election debates!


Andrew Tompsett