Grow your own wood

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Fancy revamping your outdoor area this year? Some free trees from the Woodland Trust may provide some inspiration.

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Photo: The Woodland Trust

The charity is giving away more than half a million trees to nurseries, pre-schools, brownies, girl guides and scouts, sports clubs and other community groups.

Start small with a hedge of holly or grow a small copse. If 30 trees seems too many you can share the trees with another nearby nursery or group, as long as you mention this in your application. If you apply for the trees now you will receive them for planting in the autumn.

The packs on offer come in three sizes: small (30 trees), medium (105 trees) or large (420 trees).

Schools are automatically eligible to apply for a small pack of 30 trees, for either a hedgerow or a small copse, but can also apply for a chance to receive a medium or large pack. The pack for the small hedge includes six each of hawthorn, hazel, holly, dog rose and dogwood. For the copse the pack includes ten each of wild cherry, silver birch and rowan trees.

Groups applying for the medium and large packs can choose from six different themes – trees ideal for year-round colour, wild harvest, wildlife, wetland, working wood, and wild wood. The medium pack is deal for planting either in small groups of trees, or as a hedge (approx 30m). The large pack grow a long 120 metre hedge or will cover one acre of land. All the saplings are grown in the UK and are 20 - 40cm high.

The UK is one of the least wooded areas in Europe, with just 13 per cent of woodland compared to 44 per cent on the continent. Only a third of the UK woodland is native and the Woodland Trust's aim is to encourage more people to plant trees.

Applications are welcome from many different groups including nurseries and schools, allotment holders, resident associations, parish councils, scouts, and guides.

The trees must be planted in a local shared space that people can regularly access.

Beverley Gormley, project manager at the Trust, said, ‘Planting trees is a simple yet effective way to improve our environment and with these free tree packs it couldn’t be easier to do. It’s also the perfect way to get communities doing something meaningful together for their local area, which will bring benefits for years to come. We hope as many people as possible will snap up these tree packs before they run out!’