• Schools across the UK, plus nurseries, colleges, universities and outdoor learning centres
  • All kinds of different groups such as resident associations, sports clubs, parish councils, scouts, guides and many more.

You don’t need to belong to an official organisation. You could even set up a group for the purpose of planting, but you must be not-for-profit. The most important thing is that your group is willing to take on the planning, planting and care of the saplings.

If you’re applying as a school your trees should be planted on either the school grounds, land the school has arranged regular access to or in an area that is publicly accessible.

If you’re applying as a community group, the land needs to be accessible to the public. You should also make sure your local community are aware of your plans to plant and are happy for you to go ahead.

The community involvement needs to be more than just being in sight of a public footpath or an annual open day. We are unlikely to award trees which will be planted on private land such as large gardens or paddocks, unless there is genuine public access.

However, there are other options if you are not eligible for this scheme. You can buy the tree packs, or take advantage of subsidised tree packs and projects such as our schemes for landowners and farmers.

The trees can be planted as copses, groves, avenues, shelter belts, hedgerows and many other ways.

The amount of space you need will differ depending on how you plant your trees.

  • A 30 sapling pack will cover around one tennis court, or create 6-8 metres of double-row hedging
  • A 105 sapling pack will cover 4 tennis courts, or create a double-row hedgerow of 20-25 metres
  • A 420 sapling pack will cover a football pitch, or create a double-row hedgerow of 85-100 metres

For advice on choosing your planting location and how far apart to plant your trees, visit where to plant.

Tree Tools for Schools has an excellent planting planner where you can experiment by planting virtual tree packs on your land.

You can request up to four separate tree packs as long as the total does not exceed 420 trees in each application cycle. If you have a small plot you may only need one small pack.

We have four different pack sizes: 15, 30, 105 and 420. If you would like 420 trees, please apply for the large pack – this is the most efficient way of supplying your trees. 

There is no limit to the number of times you can participate in the scheme.

Please note our 15 sapling urban pack has been specially designed for planters with very limited space, therefore it is not available in conjunction with any other packs. If you select the urban pack you will not be eligible for any other packs.

If you order more than one pack, please be aware that they may be delivered at different times.

The trees in our packs have been selected to grow in a wide variety of site conditions, so whichever pack you choose should suit your space.

All the packs can be found on our Free Trees page. For more detailed information our guide to 31 native tree species includes the soil preferences, average height and unique qualities of our most popular species.

We cannot customise any individual packs. Single trees and more pack types can be purchased through our shop.

Those applying now, to receive trees from autumn 2023, won't receive plastic tree guards.

We’ve pledged to move towards sustainable forms of tree protection and have already phased out new plastic tree guards on our land. Now we’re extending our pledge to include our free trees for schools and communities.

Our hedge pack is perfect for a small project. If you are looking to plant more than 10 metres of hedgerow most of our medium and large packs are suitable.

Packs which contain hazel, hawthorn, elder, crab apple, rowan and blackthorn are good for making hedgerows as they happily produce multiple stems and make a good, thick hedge.

Larger species can also be used in hedges and laid, cut or allowed to grow through.

The saplings are 20-60cm tall. This makes them easy to transport, easy to handle and easy to plant. Saplings this size also establish very quickly and can reach an adult’s head height in around eight years. The saplings can also be self-supporting so they don’t need increasingly large stakes to keep them secure.

Experience and feedback from previous tree pack planters tells us that you should not underestimate this element of your project.

  • The key to successful planting is planning, and establishing the best location for your trees to thrive is a great place to start. See where to plant for guidance on selecting the ideal planting position for your saplings.
  • Some sites may require weeding or mowing if overgrown. This will also help reduce competition for water, nutrients and light for the young saplings
  • If removing thick vegetation after mowing, rake or scrape the loose vegetation away to expose the ground. Clearing this excess will make the planting easier
  • Mark out where each tree will go using stones, spray paint or canes. You could also paint the tips of the canes to correspond with the species colour codes. These are detailed in the planting instructions booklet you will receive with your trees
  • If the soil is hard, you might want to dig holes before your event.

Make sure you have enough people to help you plant:

  • An adult could probably plant between 12 and 20 trees in one hour
  • Aim to plant between one to three trees per child, depending on the age of the children and the condition of the ground.

Make sure you have enough tools and equipment: 

  • Gloves and appropriate footwear
  • Spades the right size for any children involved. Small children may find a trowel easier to handle.

Remember friends, family and community groups can provide an extra pair of hands and spades!

You will receive planting instructions and care advice with your tree delivery. You can also read our planting and aftercare advice.

The planting and tree care section of Tree Tools for Schools is also packed full of useful advice and guidance.

We aim to let everyone know within approximately eight weeks of applying.

It is worth checking your junk and/or spam folders if you don’t hear from us – sometimes filters inadvertently re-direct our good news!

If you need to change anything or cancel your application please email communitytrees@woodlandtrust.org.uk.

If your application is successful you will be sent a deadline date for changes. Once this date has passed we are unable to make any changes or accept cancellations.

Please be aware we can’t tailor or make any bespoke amendments to the packs.

Your trees will be delivered by courier in November or March. They will need to be signed for so please make sure you select a suitable delivery address that will be occupied during working hours. If nobody is in, the driver will leave a card so that you can re-arrange delivery.

We cannot arrange specific times and dates for your delivery. The tree nursery will email you a link shortly before the delivery date to help you track your parcel.

If your trees do not appear by the end of the delivery period, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can investigate and get your trees to you. Please email communitytrees@woodlandtrust.org.uk.

If you have ordered more than one pack, please be aware that they may be delivered at different times.

You do not have to plant them immediately. They can be stored for several weeks as the roots are protected by a small earth plug, but we recommend planting them as soon as you can. Trees received in November should be planted by March, and trees received in March should be planted by May.

Remove the trees from the boxes and store them outside. A garage or outbuilding would be ideal. Keep your saplings upright and sheltered from frost and wind. Lightly spray the roots with water when they arrive, and check them weekly to ensure they don’t dry out. Watch our video for top tips on keeping your saplings in good condition.

If you are organising a planting event we highly recommend planning for the last week in November or March at the earliest. This will allow for any hiccups in the delivery process to be resolved. You can also find some tips on planning a successful tree planting event on the planting and tree care section of Tree Tools for Schools.

We’re sorry free tree packs are currently unavailable in Northern Ireland. Tree pests and diseases pose a serious threat to our trees and woods, as we’ve seen with ash dieback which has led to widespread death of one of our most common native trees. The movement of trees is one of the main ways new pests and diseases are introduced and we must assess these risks and put protocols in place to protect Northern Ireland’s biodiversity. Pests like oak processionary moth and chestnut blight are present in Great Britain, but not in Northern Ireland and we want to keep it that way.

We’re exploring ways to ensure a tree supply in Northern Ireland in line with these principles, including working with tree nurseries in Ireland. We appreciate your understanding and patience while we work towards a secure and sustainable solution for our tree packs in Northern Ireland.

Request a free tree pack for your school or community

Apply now