Thanet Biodiversity volunteers dig in for tree planting scheme

Thanet volunteers turned out for tree planting Photo Peter Blem

Volunteers have turned out today (May 16) for a tree planting organised by the Thanet Biodiversity facebook group.

Headed up by Peter Blem, the volunteers planted eight Pines (Pinus Nigra Nigra) on land between Bethesda Medical Centre and the cafe. The café also provided water for the planting and refreshments for the workers.

Photo Peter Blem

Volunteers included cross party support from Conservative Cedric Towning and Labour’s Rob Yates as well as Peter Hasted who also heads up the Sunken Gardens and the Thanet Urban Forest projects.

Last weekend the group also planted 20 apple blossom trees at Hodges Gap and before that they put in a 20m hedge of native Blackthorn, Dog Rose, Field Maple, Hazel, Bird Cherry and Hawthorn at St Georges Lawn.

Apple blossom planting Photo Peter Blem

The Thanet Biodiversity group aims to maintain biodiversity on the Isle of Thanet. Volunteers donate funds and skills to carry out work. More planting sessions with native varieties are planned.

To get involved find Thanet Biodiversity on facebook by clicking here and answer a few simple questions to join up


  1. That pine tree species is listed as invasive by the government, non native and of little benefit to wildlife by the Woodland trust and a critical risk for causing biodiversity loss and damage to the environment by Plantlife. To have planted these knowingly, by a group claiming to be for the very thing they are damaging, really makes no sense.

    • Perhaps its best not to leap too quickly to judgement – the argument is far more nuanced and certainly keyboard warriors might be best advised not to be too quick to criticise. Firstly, most tree people are thinking that as some global warming is now inevitable, then neophyte trees from central/southern Europe may well be a good choice for living into the second half of this century – and they can be good for biodiversity! Secondly this is a very tough situation and only really tough trees will be able to survive to provide any shelter and food at all eg small spiders, mites and insects for birds to feed on. Good luck if you want to plant an indigenous broad-leaved tree such as Hazel on this site. Its going to be a close call for any tree planting on this soil and with this salt exposure, but Corsican Pine really is a well-considered choice, backed by expert advice and well worth trying. No guarantees unfortunately – but could you perhaps help with watering some of these or other newly planted trees instead of just carping from the sidelines? You would be welcome, we are all in this together – or should be!

    • To be generous to you, I am not sure that you understand the difference between Thanet coastal cliffs and the East Anglian Brecklands, where there is certainly a real risk of invasiveness. In this situation however, there is really no serious risk of invasiveness or any consequent damage to the environment. It makes no sense for one critic to say the trees won’t survive, which is possible depending on how much support the community, including your good selves, actually gives to its young trees and tree planters, and for you to say that its going to be incredibly invasive. Guys, make your minds up and play fair!

      • Dear Patronising Retired Soils lecturer,

        To be generous to you and your keyboard I doubt you have the education or training or empathy to understand that the invasive species list was drawn up by experts and that the research has deep consideration behind it. Just because you don’t respect it, doesn’t give you and Thanet Biodiverisity a free pass to plant trees that are out of place and invasive, and not in line with the Kent Council tree planting guidance.

        No-one is saying don’t plant trees, no-one is complaining about the effort or the generosity of the planting groups. We are complaining because the choice of tree is unsuitable.

        Who are you to make uni-lateral decisions on behalf of the community and the flora and fauna here? It is your “I am right, you uneducated riff-raff are wrong” attitude that got the planet into the state it’s in. (And gives other academics a bad name.)

        Sit down.

  2. K Stoneley

    Agree plus planting at this time of year instead of autumn means alot of water is going to be needed to keep them alive through spring and summer. You could argue that why put extra strain on our water resources. That’s why you planet trees in the autumn.

    Agree that pine species is non native but these tree lovers seem to love the wrong trees ! Pines, sycamore etc both not great for wildlife.

    It would seem that a little knowledge is dangerous lol.

    • Actually, if you are going to be planting both deciduous and evergreen trees, it makes a lot of sense to try to get all your deciduous trees in during the late autumn, as they really must go in then, and if you don’t have time (or support from all the cleverclogs in this world) to get your evergreens in then, leave them until the spring. Its going to be very tough for any trees there, and there may well be restricted growth and some losses, but pines are going to be one of the best choices for this site due to the tough salt-resistant waxy cuticles on their needles and the tracheids in their veins. Oh, and could you just remind me why it is that slow-growing pines are such successful survivors in both the “frozen deserts” of the taiga and the “hot deserts” of Arizona etc. Could it because of their relative tolerance of arid environments? Any trees might struggle here, and tree-planting is always a risk, but these pines are actually a good and well thought out choice. Oh and dormice seem to love feasting on the abundant aphids on sycamore (greater aphid biomass than almost all indigenous trees).

  3. Yes, I too wonder why they’ve planted these pines, which look very out of place. And why at the beginning of summer.

    Are “apple blossom trees” different from apple trees?

  4. Thanet is an amazing place.
    For months people have been slagging off TDC (and anyone else) for cutting trees down – even a mild pruning.
    Now a group has done something positive – they’ve planted a load of trees – and they’re getting slagged off!

  5. This type of pine can grow to 50ft. Eventually, it will be like having monster Christmas trees all year round.

  6. So Phyllis would you be happy for Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam or Spanish Bluebells to be planted in the wild? As they are on the same invasive species list as the trees planted today.

  7. Blimey. People complain when trees are cut down, people moan when trees are planted and even the time of year they’re planted! Why do most people this comment focus on the negative and not the good that’s being done by volunteers? I hope they grow to 50 feet and block the moaners sea view.

  8. It would be wonderful if we could have some trees planted in the streets where we live. I live Minster CT12. We have NO trees in most of the streets here. It would be lovely to see trees also very healthy

  9. Not one of the Thanet Trees Group OR the ‘Save The Duke’ rent-a-mob are in that photo.

    Probably too busy spraying graffiti on the boards at the former Duke Street Encampment.

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