THE WOODLAND TRUST’S  popular free tree pack scheme is now open for applications for planting to tackle climate change or to improve local areas around the country.

Schools and community groups are now able to apply for the first one million trees, and into 2022, there will be over three million trees in total available via free tree packs.

Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis and the first million trees will be despatched in November during the planting season. The Trust welcomes applications from all types of community groups. People do not have to be part of a formal long-standing group, they just need to get together and have a group name decided before they apply.

Woodland Trust tree packs contain a mix of UK sourced and grown native broadleaf species such as hazel, rowan, hawthorn, common oak, silver birch, wild cherry, elder, dogwood and holly. Packs come in a range of sizes; 15 (perfect for urban areas and which can be split between neighbours where necessary), 30 (which will create a six-metre hedgerow or a tennis court-sized copse), 105 (enough to cover an area as big as four tennis courts) or 420 (to cover an area the size of a football pitch) and most can create fantastic hedgerows. They are also available in a range of themes; year-long colour, a wild harvest, or a haven for wildlife. Another contains hardy species which tolerate exposed sites and dry areas or where water collects easily, there is even a working wood mix which could provide wood fuel or willow for weaving.

The Trust asks that trees are planted on publicly accessible land where possible, with the landowner’s permission, and that groups commit to caring for those trees as they establish and grow. Since 2004, the scheme has helped thousands of groups plant millions of trees and there is support for experienced and first- time tree planters. In Spring this year, over 400,000 free trees were sent to keen planters across the country.

Senior project lead for the Woodland Trust, Vicki Baddeley, said: “We’re always amazed by the appetite schools and communities have for tree planting. It is such a wonderful thing to do. It is a positive, life-affirming and life-changing action that people can take to mark momentous occasions… to help tackle the climate and nature crises, or to make their local areas a bit greener. We find that once people have planted one tree, they usually want to do more.

“All the trees planted have a host of different benefits working hard to lock up carbon, improve soils and water, reduce the flow of flooding, provide shade and shelter, create havens for wildlife and places to enjoy.”

The Woodland Trust says unfortunately it is not able to despatch packs to Northern Ireland currently due to the NI Protocol, so cannot accept applications for Northern Ireland at this time. It is consulting with statutory bodies to try and resolve this issue.

* Order free trees here before August 25 to be delivered in November 2021.

* Source: The Woodland Trust