Housing company Thirteen has marked the beginnings of a new orchard in Middlesbrough by planting the first trees. 

As the UK’s largest annual tree celebration National Tree Week begins this week, colleagues and customers have planted the first thirteen trees on the Thorntree estate.

While National Tree Week marks the start of the winter tree planting season, Thirteen is working on many projects to improve the environment and benefit local communities and has already planted hundreds of trees.

The trees, which require limited maintenance will begin to bear fruit in the next year and form an attractive mini orchard for residents on the estate to enjoy.

Thirteen’s environmental specialist John Woods says, “This orchard will be close to many of our customers’ homes and a new development of affordable homes which Thirteen completed earlier this year.

“Planting these trees is just the beginning of an exciting project here to bring the communal land back to life. We’re planting apple, pear, plum, cherry, walnut and hazelnut trees to create our very own fruit aisle.

“We’ll be adding a splash of colour with daffodils and a wildflower meadow which will look stunning as it blooms. There will be more trees planted as the site develops and we’ll be planting fruit bushes and herb beds in the spring.

“This is great for the environment and will help to reconnect residents with nature, boost their wellbeing and help them learn about the environment.

“Trees are the most effective natural way of helping to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. We’re increasing biodiversity in the green areas we manage to support and protect the natural habitats of birds, bees and insects.

“We’re giving something back to the community and creating greener neighbourhoods.”

Pic: Customer Deborah Stephenson, head of environmental sustainability Samantha Granger, environmental team members – Nathan Butler, Catherine Cannell, Ellie Rawden and environmental specialist John Woods.