Free trees for communities and schools

What is one of our most powerful weapons in the challenge of Climate Crisis? Trees, the ultimate carbon capture and storage ʻmachinesʼ. The entire woodland ecosystem plays a part in this, including roots, leaves, deadwood and surrounding soils.

You can apply now for free trees from the Woodland Trust and the Tree Council. These will be delivered for the 2020/21 planting season which starts in November for four months.

These trees are very young, known as “whips” they are usually no more than 50cms tall. These young trees have the best chance of flourishing, and though taller “standards” are more instantly satisfying, they suffer more stress when they are transplanted.

All young trees will need careful nurturing for at least three years after planting: so that means you will need to ensure that you can water them during hot, dry weather, as well as mulching and weeding.

Different trees need different conditions and suit different needs.

The Woodland Trust offers themed tree packs to help you decide whatʼs best for the plot you have in mind. Choose from a range including;

Copse a mix of 30 tree species to make an mini forest oasis for birds and people to enjoy (silver birch, rowan and wild cherry)

Hedge with enough trees to plant a 6-8 metre double hedgerow for wildlife and other interesting species (dog rose, hawthorn, hazel, crab apple and dogwood)

Urban Trees a 15 tree pack including crab apple, rowan and hazel to enhance residential areas with limited communal space.

Wildwood for exposed sites and to dry up wet areas (goat willow, holly and downy birch)

You can find more information and the application form for November delivery at the Woodland Trust website.

The Tree Councilʼs “Branching Out” scheme offers funding for tree, orchard and hedgerow planting projects to schools and community groups.

In previous years the scheme provided grants, but this year thanks to donations, the Tree Council may fund 100% (excluding VAT), of the cost of well-planned tree and hedgerow planting projects.

These projects must actively involve the participation of young people (up to the age of 21), and can cost from £300 to an upper limit of £1500. The funding awarded can cover tree stakes, ties, mulches as well as trees sourced from bio-secure stock (many of the diseases damaging our trees have been imported in infected trees from abroad).

The application form and guidance information plus a funding breakdown form are available from the Tree Council.

Photo: Late summer berries on a Rowan tree – a smaller tree good for biodiversity

Words and Photo: Malinda Griffin.

Malinda is a Havant Borough tree warden – find out more about the tree wardens on their website.

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