At Urban Planters we try not to waste a thing. Even dead trees can be brought back to life, well almost.
When Urban Planters York took on a contract to re-furbish and maintain exterior displays for Bella Italia at Silverlink, Newcastle, many of the plants were in a poor state, not least two three-metre olive trees at the entrance, which were already dead.
The client faced a potentially high cost to dispose of the old trees and replace with new, but Urban’s Gary Goodman proposed using the trunks and replacing the dead foliage with high-quality, very realistic replica leaves, complete with “olives”.
Tried and tested
This idea first came from Urban Planters North West, when they “revived” some failed olive trees for the Manchester Hilton hotel in the same way.
More recently, they took on the maintenance of a large Hornbeam tree for Urban Bubble, which had lost its foliage to aphids. After thoroughly cleaning the tree and removing the last leaves, they used green wire to attach new replica leaves to reform a canopy.
“The planting had been installed by the developers and wasn’t suitable to the environment,” explains Urban Planters North West’s Carole Milligan. “We have also replaced failing plants and are working to revive six more trees, but this large hornbeam with its new replica foliage has really signalled a fresh start for this planting scheme.”
We pride ourselves on the quality of our replica planting, but of course you can never compete with nature for beauty, so by saving the trunks and branches of these trees, we are at least preserving the parts which give them their unique form. And, using replica leaves which are so lifelike you have to look very closely to see they aren’t the real thing, we hope to fool some people into thinking they are still alive!