Environment secretary Hilary Benn answered the challenge from the Tree Council to green the future by planting a 4m-high London plane tree on Millbank, in London.
Tree Council director general Pauline Buchanan Black joined Benn in the ceremony last week to help promote greater recognition of trees.
"They want to send a clear message that the built environment must accommodate more new large landscape trees," said a representative.
"In London, for example, such trees are seldom reinstated and their loss will be an increasing problem with climate change."
Benn said: "We need more trees in our towns and cities. I grew up looking at London plane trees out of my bedroom window and now I'm planting one."
Buchanan Black said tree-planting opportunities were lost because developers thought trees cost a lot and failed to see their social and economic benefits.