Families connect to trees

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Trees planted along the riverside in Luggate have a family connection.

When old willow trees by the creek had to be removed, local resident Cec Anderson thought the area was looking a little bare.

So she took to social media to see if there would be people willing to “invest in Luggate’s future” by buying a tree and looking after it.

She expected only about four or five people would be interested, but more than 40 trees have been bought.

Residents were asked to pay $45 for a tree, and local business The Plant Store provided top-up funds.

“I thought if people buy the tree they have invested in it, which means they are more likely to look after it,” Mrs Anderson said.

Each tree has a label attached showing names of families and individuals who have bought the tree.

People as far away as Auckland had also given money for trees, and local residents would help look after them, Mrs Anderson said.

Mitre 10 and Luggate Timber provided supplies to help with planting, and Matt Ede helped with ditch digging.

“It really was a community effort.”

Many locals turned up for a planting day last month, Mrs Anderson said.

They discussed planting native trees, but after speaking to council parks and reserves officer Diana Manson and arborist Tim Errington it was decided to have a combination of natives and introduced plants.

“He said that native trees don’t do well here because it is too dry and too cold, apart from the kowhai,” Mrs Anderson said. As a result, the trees include kowhai, pin oaks, maples, ornamental flowering pears, copper beeches, flowering cherries and chestnut trees.

Luggate Community Association chairman Graeme Perkins said they had a memorandum of understanding with the council to look after and water the trees, which were on council land by the creek.