THIS is the fifth time that I have written about the importance of trees, and a recent news item has prompted me again.

It seems that a mature wooded area at St Ives, mainly larch and sweet chestnut planted in 1948, is infected and needs removing, to be replaced in due course with elm, ash and birch.

It’s the wooden equivalent of removing part of the body to prevent cancer from killing the host, and ensuring a longer period of life – the longer the better for all our trees.

We need them growing in the gardens, the parks, beside roads in Sheffield, woods, forests and covering hillsides, where they last for up to a century or more, and take carbon out of the atmosphere and reduce flooding.

The more furniture and construction work using timber the better, such as my house with its century old roof beams, joists, floor boards and door frames, all in fine fettle, taking carbon out of the atmosphere for decade after decade.

We expect trees to give us shade, fruit, beautiful leaves, a useful building material and a place to hang swings but we ignore their real importance – they take an enormous amount of carbon out of the atmosphere.

An acorn was planted in the grounds of Blenheim Palace in 1788 – it’s now a 50 foot oak tree containing five cubic metres of wood that is made mainly of carbon – some four tonnes of it. If it was burned the carbon would join with oxygen to make CO2, and each tonne of it would need just over three and a half tonnes of oxygen to make the gas. In all this one tree has the potential to lock up over 14 tonnes of CO2 – the amount that you and I together produce in a year.

So, you know what to do – plant trees.