Albert Square Beautification

Location: Manchester, United Kingdom

Originally planted in 2007, five of the trees are located in Manchester’s Albert Square, with 25 additional trees in adjacent streets such as John Dalton Street, Bridge Street, and Princess Street. These are some of Central Manchester’s busiest and most visible locations.

For example, Albert Square sits directly opposite the impressive Victorian Neo-gothic architecture of the town hall. It therefore features strongly on the ‘must-see’ list for almost all tourists and visitors to the city.

The Manchester trees were planted during a downtown revitalization project under the supervision of Red Rose Forest, a community forest partnership between Natural England, the Forestry Commission, the Metropolitan Boroughs of Bolton, Bury, Trafford and Wigan, and the Cities of Manchester and Salford. Since 1991, Red Rose Forest has been helping to improve green infrastructure and create greener urban environments throughout North West England. One of the organizations primary interests is to develop the network of open spaces, green corridors and street trees that make up Greater Manchester.

For the plantings in and around Albert Square, GreenBlue worked closely with the landscape architect appointed by Red Rose Forest, providing helpful advice on tree pit design and the actual tree pit components which have allowed the trees to establish and thrive. Trees were planted using a combination of structural RootCells, ReRoot root barriers, RootRain Precinct irrigation systems and underground guying for support. Subsequent to planting, the trees were initially cared for by Red Rose Forest and have since become the responsibility of Manchester City Council.

Four years after planting, the project has enjoyed almost 100% success (one tree was replanted after being hit by a truck, which was unrelated to the planting and maintenance practices employed). This is an impressive result given that the mortality rates for newly planted urban trees can sometimes be higher than 50% if the correct tree pit designs and planting practices are not utilized.

Commenting on the overwhelming success of the project, Peter Stringer of Red Rose Forest said, “we’re naturally delighted that the trees we’ve planted in Central Manchester are doing so well. Everyone involved in the project has contributed to its success, and the tree pit products supplied by GreenBlue have undoubtedly played a significant role.” Peter continued, “the prominent location of these trees means that they are subject to almost every conceivable pressure that an urban tree can face. The fact that they have been able to thrive in spite of this is a testament to the effectiveness of the tree pit designs created by GreenBlue and the CTAC (Community Technical Aid Centre) landscape architect, and thoroughly justifies the investment in suitable tree planting products. On the basis of the success that has been achieved in Albert Square, we have recently specified further planting on Whitworth Street, another Central Manchester location, using a very similar set of tree pit components.”