Employees of HSBC helped plant trees Tuesday as part of Releaf London, an effort to make the community more green.

Despite frosty temperatures, London got greener Tuesday, thanks to Releaf London and more than 30 employees from HSBC. The group planted 38 trees — chestnut oak, northern red oak, October glory maple, red sunset maple and hornbeam — at strategic spots along Main Street and other major thoroughfares.

The undertaking was spearheaded — and paid for — by HSBC, which shelled out more than $3,000 to pay for the trees.

“It’s probably the best project I’ve ever participated in,” said Trae Ballou, HSBC unit manager. “I felt like we were really doing something people can enjoy and that made a difference.”

Ballou said volunteers were likewise enthusiastic.

“Everyone was really excited about helping to beautify London and the community and hopefully make a long-lasting impact on our city,” he said.

The volunteers were outside for about three hours Tuesday, filling in pre-dug holes with the trees and filler dirt. Their secret to staying warm?

“A little bit of coffee and a lot of hard work,” Ballou joked.

HSBC decided to get involved as part of its commitment to go green. The company also recently started recycling at its site.

The new trees — chosen for their foliage, durability and how wide and high they grow — were planted at the junction of U.S. 25 and KY 229, between London Community Center and London Police Department, across from A.R. Dyche Memorial Park, across from Carnaby Square and at the two “Welcome to London” signs on KY 80 and KY 192. Releaf London is a volunteer committee that is part of London Downtown. It was formed after the America In Bloom judges pointed out the community lacked in its effort to promote urban forestry.

Staff writer Tara Kaprowy can be reached by e-mail at

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