Native trees naturally started colonising the land since the end of the last ice age and adapted to our climate, so they benefit from being quick to establish and often do well in difficult positions. British Native trees are crucial to the survival of many species of insects, birds and other animals in the UK. Cultivars of native trees are also worth considering, with Birch, Rowan and Crab Apple being popular.
Because they have been around so long, many native trees have rich, interesting histories often told through mythology, literature and religion. Many of them have also received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Some popular native trees with the RHS Award of Garden Merit include English Oak, Silver Birch, Common Holly, Lime, Field Maple, Common Hornbeam and Common Beech. Other native trees include Mountain Ash, Common Hawthorn, Spindle, Black Poplar, Scots Pine, Crab Apple, Wild Cherry and Common Alder.
Trees that colonised the UK after it had become disconnected from mainland Europe are technically referred to as naturalised, rather than native. Some naturalised trees include Sycamore, Snowy Mespilus, Common Walnut, Sweet Chestnut, Cherry Plum, European Larch, Holm Oak and Laburnum alpinum. Below, you will find these listed after the native varieties.
This section is home to some of our favourite trees, those which are native to the UK. Whilst these trees are great choices when your garden is surrounded by the British countryside and you want your garden to blend in, many of them also have very good ornamental properties in their own right. Silver Birch is arguably the most popular, being favoured for its wonderful silvery fissured bark. Both Common Hawthorn and Snowy Mespilus are chosen for their beautiful white blooms. Common Holly and Mountain Ash are popular for their foliage and berries. Common Holly, Holm Oak and Scots Pine are all good evergreen options.