People planting trees

Mayor of London - community tree packs

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The Mayor of London is working with The Conservation Volunteers to give away 25,000 trees to community groups, schools, and other organisations across the city to make London greener and help bring cleaner, fresher air to all Londoners. They come in packs of 50 saplings - and they’re the perfect addition to any communal green space.

The community tree packs are now all allocated and applications are closed for 2018

Packs are still available nationally through our I Dig Trees programme. Please visit our I Dig Trees pages to apply for those.

TCV and our partners are giving away of trees from our sites from the 28th Nov. More information about the giveaway here.

The tree packs are part of London’s biggest ever tree planting weekend on 1 and 2 December. Londoners will also be invited to get involved in planting events and get free trees to plant at home.

Your trees will be a mixture of UK native species specially chosen by The Conservation Volunteers to fit perfectly with London’s native plant and animal life. They come in packs of 50 saplings – and they’re small, beautiful and easy to plant, making them the perfect addition to any communal green space.

Four different packs are available

We've tried to answer frequently asked questions below. Read our tree planting guide for instructions on what to do when your trees arrive.

FAQs

Who is eligible for the tree packs?

We welcome applications from community groups, housing associations, tenants or residents associations, schools, friends of parks groups and other charities.

Still not sure if you qualify? 

No problem, please email us and we will contact you to discuss; sarah.clarke@tcv.org.uk 

What trees are in the packs?

Four different packs are available:

Parkland Pack

  • English Oak
  • Silver Birch
  • Beech
  • Hornbeam
  • Alder

Large Garden Pack

  • Downy Birch
  • Aspen
  • Wild Cherry
  • Mountain Ash/Rowan
  • Field Maple

Small Garden Pack

  • Mountain Ash/Rowan
  • Bird Cherry
  • Common Crab Apple
  • Grey Willow
  • Hazel

Wildlife & Shrubs Pack

  • Hawthorn
  • Common Dogwood
  • Blackthorn
  • Goat Willow
  • Guelder Rose

Where can we plant the trees? 

The trees should be planted in publicly accessible spaces where you have landowner permission to plant.

Are the packs only available in London? 

As this scheme is run with the Mayor of London, the tree packs are only available within London. Tree packs are available through other TCV schemes to groups elsewhere in the UK. 

How many packs can I have? 

You can order up to 200 trees = 4 packs. However, we do ask that you only order volumes which you are sure you can plant. 

I would like more than 200 trees? 

Subject to availability we may be able to support larger volumes, please contact TCV to discuss your requirements a sarah.clarke@tcv.org.uk

Can I mix the trees within the packs? 

Sadly no. Due to the scale of this programme we are unable to accommodate this request. However, you are able to choose different packs within your order mix. 

Do the trees come with protection? 

Yes, but this is optional. All the trees can be supplied with: 50 x spiral guards (60cm x 50mm diameter) and supporting cane (90cm) packaged in forestry co-extruded bags.

Do we need permission to plant the trees? 

Yes, you must obtain permission from the landowner to plant the trees, as all future responsibility for the trees will rest with the landowner. If you have difficulty establishing who owns the land you could contact your borough to help.

Are there areas I shouldn’t plant trees? 

Yes: anywhere you do not have permission to do so, not too close to power lines, buildings or roads.

Where are the trees from? 

All the trees are supplied by TCV’s national tree partner; they are an approved supplier of UK provenance stock in accordance with the Forest Reproductive Materials Regulations (2002). 

Can I amend or cancel my order? 

Order amends or cancellations can be made before 16 November, up to 2 weeks before the agreed delivery date. Beyond this, we regret that we cannot amend your order due to the volume of distribution we have to manage. 

When will my trees arrive? 

Your trees will arrive on the 27th, 28th or 29th November, in time for the London’s biggest ever planting weekend. We encourage you to be part of this and plant your trees between 30 November and 2 December.

Can the courier call me before they deliver? 

Unfortunately, our couriers are not able to call you. We would expect someone to be available between 9.00-5.00pm on the date you have agreed to receive delivery of your trees.

What if I am not in when you deliver? 

If possible, our courier will leave the trees in a safe location near to the delivery point. Failing that we would arrange a second delivery, but this could delay you actually receiving your trees. 

How are the trees packaged and delivered? 

Once the order has been picked, the trees are then placed into heavy gauge plastic bags and securely tied prior to dispatch to ensure the roots remain damp during transport.

Delivery is by a national parcel carrier for our smaller parcels. These may arrive either as a single parcel or multiple parcels for one consignment, dependent upon the nature of your order. Larger orders are securely palletised and sent through a national palletline company. 

How should I care for them prior to planting? 

All trees and hedging trees should be planted within one week of delivery. Find out more about planting and caring for your trees.

Please also check out our videos on looking after your trees

I don’t have the tools to plant a tree? 

Specialised tools aren’t really required, though a good quality spade will make your day easier. We recommend a rabbiting/planting spade.

We need help to actually plant all our trees 

If you would like to recruit volunteers to help you plant your trees between 30 November and 2 December, the Mayor of London can help to promote your event. Many events, from large to small will be taking place across the city during this weekend. Please contact trees@london.gov.uk to register your planting event.

Got a question about tree packs or planting? Email p.hutchings@tcv.org.uk 

Tree Planting Guide

Thank you for doing your bit to help make London a little bit greener - we really appreciate it. We would love you to plant your trees as part of London’s biggest ever tree planting weekend between 30 November and 2 December.

This planting guide will help you plan your planting event, and make sure that your trees get off to the best possible start.

Step 1: unpack and check your trees

  1. Check that the species, number, and height of the trees are correct.
  2. Check that the roots are damp and in good order.The root structure of species can vary between fibrous and tap rooted, i.e. not so fibrous.
  3. Check that the tree stems are in a healthy and fresh condition and not dried out or brittle. Remember that the trees are currently in a dormant state so don’t expect leaves in full flush.
  4. For reassurance, scrape back the stem of the tree (using your fingernail) to reveal green underneath the bark. This represents a healthy tree.
  5. Check the tree as a whole to make sure no roots or stems have been broken or damaged during transit.

Step 2: look after your trees before planting them

  1. All trees and should be planted within one week of delivery. The trees can be ‘heeled in’ immediately or alternatively will remain healthy in their bags for up to 7 days.
  2. Make sure the bags containing the trees are stored in a cool building overnight and are kept out of the elements. 
  3. Any overnight frost contact with the bags can be damaging to the trees.
  4. If you are unable to plant them within this time period, we recommend that you ‘heel’ your trees into the ground for safe storage and to keep them healthy.
  5. ‘Heeled in’ trees will store happily throughout the winter period until you are ready to plant them.

Step 3: if you need to, temporarily heel your trees in

  1. Start by digging a V-shaped trench, wide enough and deep enough to hold the roots of the trees you are to heel in. Remove the trees from any packaging and place them at an angle in the trench in their bundles, so that the roots are at the bottom and the trunk or base of the tree rests up the side of the trench.
  2. Backfill the trench with soil to cover the roots. You can then use your heel to firm the trees in and remove any air pockets.
  3. Water the trees once in position. They will stay there quite happily throughout the winter period. Do not remove or try to plant during frost or snow conditions. Be wary of leaving trees beyond the planting season as you do not wish them to break dormancy prior to planting them in their permanent position. The ‘rule of thumb’ deadline is generally around mid-April, dependent upon the timing of spring.

Step 4: remove your heeled in trees

  1. When you are ready to relocate the trees to their permanent position, gently remove and loosen the soil from the trench. We recommend using a trowel or your fingers, instead of a spade or shovel, to prevent accidentally damaging the roots. When you feel the bundles becoming loose then pull from the ground and gently shake off any excess soil from the roots.
  2. If the roots have remained damp, then place your trees within a planting bag in readiness for planting. Alternatively, it wouldn’t harm to give them a ‘drink’ prior to planting. Fill a bucket with water and place the plant roots within. Allow them to soak for 5–10 minutes. Drain off and place within the planting bag.

Step 5: plant your trees

DO NOT PLANT IF THE GROUND IS FROZEN OR WATERLOGGED.

Planting your trees is an easy task, as bare-rooted trees can be notch-planted. Here’s how:

  1. If not already decided upon, find a suitable position for your trees, bearing in mind how tall and wide they will grow to maturity.
  2. Begin by inserting the blade of a spade into the ground, push the spade handle away from you and then bring it back towards you. Once you remove the spade, you will see that you have created a cavity in the ground.
  3. Place the tree roots within the cavity and shake to ensure that all of the roots are pointing downwards]
  4. Use your heel to firm the soil around the tree to remove any air pockets. Once planted, give them a good watering to aid recovery.

Step 6: fit protection for your trees

  1. Tree protection should be securely fitted following planting.
  2. Firstly, secure the cane or stake next to the planted tree, then follow up and fit the spiral guard as the final task.
  3. Spirals should be placed over both the tree and the cane – the only purpose of the cane is to hold the spiral up.
  4. Netguards should be held up with two canes in opposite corners of the guard.

Step 7: maintain your trees

  1. To increase prospects for survival and subsequent growth rate, the implementation of a maintenance programme is essential. Lack of weeding is the biggest single killer of young planted trees.
  2. It is far cheaper to weed than to replace dead trees.
  3. Weeded trees establish faster and need less maintenance overall.
  4. However, when planting bare-root stock, it is not unusual for natural losses to occur so always expect a small percentage of failures to be replaced in the first two years following planting.
  5. You must eradicate weed competition at the base of trees for the first three growing seasons. This can be done by chemical means or by hand weeding.
  6. If you have protection on the trees, you can safely spray the base to kill off weeds and grasses with appropriate herbicides, without risk of chemicals touching the trees. Check at least twice a year that all protective sundries are securely fitted and replace where necessary. Protection should be maintained for at least 5 years.

For more help on planting trees, take a look at our Conservation Handbooks - there's one specifically about tree planting and aftercare.

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