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How To Organise Your Tree Planting Activity

At the end of February 2022, The Rotary Club of Chester-le-Street finally completed its first pilot tree-planting project since lockdown. In August 2021 we had submitted an online application form to the Woodland Trust, requesting 90 trees (in three free 30-sapling packs) guaranteed for delivery by courier in early November. The Woodland Trust only gives free trees to schools or for community planting events. The total number of saplings for a single event, in any number of different sized packs, is 408.Each pack contains different choices of several native British broadleaf trees or hedgerow bushes, including a support stick and a tree guard for each whip. By mid-September the Trust confirmed that our application had been approved and the delivery details could no longer be changed.



Ours was a Rotary Club-sponsored community event, with enthusiastically help from the local Boys Brigade, along with their parents. The boys could gain ‘Get Involved’ recognition for their Badge Work. We planned the event for late November, hopefully before hard frosts or snow set it. Unfortunately, due to driver shortages, only one of the three tree-packs had arrived in time, but the event went ahead anyway. Sixty late-delivered saplings had to be ‘heeled’ into loose outdoor soil to keep them safely in hibernation over winter. They have all now been planted, again with the Boys Brigade’s help – so, in the end, we had two very successful community days out!

A general view of the scene as we completed the planting of ninety mixed copse and hedgerow broadleaf native British trees at The Chester Moor Nature Reserve, Durham.

Planning for the event began in June 2021after calling the Woodland Trust ‘shop’, to enquire about free trees for a community event sponsored by our Club. To qualify we would need to find a publicly accessible site with a grid reference (found on the Trust’s website). The Trust also needed to know who owned the site and who would maintain it afterwards. We found our County Council’s Countryside Department Manager who put us in touch with a warden who was keen to replace trees lost through Ash die-back disease. His Nature Reserve is a small but very bio-diverse reserve on the site of a former colliery. The warden advised us what packs of trees would blend in best with existing plantings, allowing the remaining 20% of healthy Ash tree to remain in place.

The final job was to register the planting with the BBC’s Countryfile (plantbritain.co.uk).Up to the end of this year all plantings will count towards the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Million Trees Cover Appeal.

In Spring 2022 the Woodland Trust will re-open its application process for free trees, to be submitted by end August, for delivery and planting in November 2022. A second application window for free trees for planting in March closes at Christmas. However, trees can be bought at any time from the Woodland Trust online shop, for delivery within a week, and typically at reasonable or even discounted prices. There is a separate application process for private landowners and farmers with possible grants and funding available.

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