I Dig Trees - FAQs
The stuff we all want to know, but sometimes never ask!
All About I Dig Trees
Supported by our incredible community groups, every year we are growing a network of pocket forests right across the UK, for climate, wildlife and communities.
Do you want to see what that looks like? The impact I Dig Trees has already made?
Click here to view our interactive I Dig Trees map.
95% of our trees are planted by our network of competent, dedicated and thoroughly amazing community groups and volunteers.
Everyday heroes creating pocket forests across the UK, linking up wildlife corridors and helping nature to thrive. We simply couldn’t do it alone.
While we contribute to planting efforts with our partners, and we’re always here providing advice and guidance, we rely on the dedicated I Dig Trees community to ensure millions of trees are planted and cared for with love. Our trees get planted, and they’re cherished.
We really hate to say it, but it's highly unlikely. Trees are living things, and sadly with all the care in the world, we can’t guarantee that every one of your saplings will make it. Nature can be tough! But together, we shall give them the best possible start in life.
We’ll provide you with the advice and guidance on quality planting, and the aftercare and maintenance they need to have the very best chance of thriving and surviving!
Good question. We follow our trees from dispatch through to planting, but it shouldn’t end there, and it doesn’t!
We check in with our community groups who’ve applied in the past to see how the trees are getting on as part of our annual survey. 85% of respondents report visiting their trees at least once a month to check on their progress.
We continue to develop our support guides to reflect the changing climate and challenges for aftercare. Now we have introduced a new audit process to help us better understand the impact these trees are having – the true measure of their legacy.
With the help of the I Dig Trees community and some specialist ecological advice, we’re introducing a programme of surveys to record the impact of our tree planting on biodiversity and benefits to the local environment.
We feel your frustration! It can be difficult depending on where you live to find enough space to plant trees🙁.... but wait, you can still be part of the IDT movement! You can support another amazing community group to plant trees on your behalf.
You could talk to your employer about supporting I Dig Trees.
You could find another group running a tree planting event and join in.
You can help a huge amount by simply spreading the I Dig Trees word with our Social Media Toolkit.
Anything you do that helps get trees in the ground, is a positive step toward a greener, healthier UK. You’ll be leaving a lasting green legacy for future generations, taking positive action on climate, wildlife and communities.
That’s a tough one, it’s a bit like how big will my tree grow? There are so many factors at play here; the species, where it's planted, climate, growth rates.
What we can say, is that on average, we estimate that a tree can sequester 0.38 tonnes over its lifetime, so the sooner we get planting, the sooner those trees will be doing their thing for climate change.
We wish! But no, it’s complicated. In the first few years the amount of carbon a tree captures is tiny. Trees convert carbon through photosynthesis and store it in their timber. And a sapling is tiny. The bigger they get, the more they store. Trees really mature from year 10, and it could be 50 + years before they are really storing carbon at scale.
The quick answer is no! The long one is that TCV focuses on planting in our towns and cities. The majority of trees we plant will fall outside of the Woodland Carbon Code – simply because of the volume planted in any one place.
Together, we are creating a network of pocket forests across the UK, linking up corridors for wildlife. Does a tree work harder to capture carbon if it knows it's registered? Of course not! It just doesn’t get a certificate for its efforts. 😊
A registered and unregistered tree both sequester the same amount of carbon, they both provide the benefits for climate, wildlife and our communities. And we’re proud of them all.
We calculate the carbon your trees can capture based on latest data analysis from the Woodland Carbon Code. But we do make some assumptions as there are many factors at play such as growth, species, location, and topography. With the help of some very clever friends, we have created a formula to give us an average figure per tree that we are confident in. We review this figure every year depending on the species makeup of our tree packs. As science develops, then so will our data, as we continue to improve our understanding and reporting on the truly awesome impact that I Dig Trees is having across the UK – for climate, for wildlife and communities.
We recognise some amazing projects happening around the world, but here at TCV we are focused on the UK and improving our wildlife, natural environment, and biodiversity in our own back garden! [deliberate pun intended]
Our commitment, working with our amazing volunteers and community groups, is to make the UK greener for us all to enjoy, forever.
Our communities don’t like plastic, that’s a fact. And neither do we! But for many years it has been the only real option to protect saplings from nibbling wildlife (squirrels, rabbits, deer) who love the tasty greens. Guards can give the tree a fighting chance by protecting them from wildlife whilst allowing light to reach them – hence the plastic.
But things are changing. Half of our tree pack recipients choose not to use guards at all, and those that need them? Well, we’re providing better options. It’s a developing market but we work with our suppliers to source some of the latest eco-friendly alternatives – biodegradable, compostable – there’s always something new. We’re always looking for the silver bullet to remove plastic from the system all together.
The Practicalities of Ordering From I Dig Trees
This is a community programme – For Climate, For Wildlife, For Communities – I Dig Trees!
As long as the trees are planted by or for communities, then we’d like you to apply. For example, are you a community group? Tick! Housing, Residential Association, School, Parish Council? Tick! Another charity working with communities and greenspace? Excellent! All we ask is that you are:
- Not doing this for profit
- Planting in a publicly accessible space
- Obtaining any relevant landowner permission
- Involving volunteers in your tree planting activity
Still not sure if you qualify? No problem, tell us your plans and we will contact you to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org
The trees should only be planted in publicly accessible spaces – some access restrictions may apply in schools, care homes, housing associations etc. So you’ll need to get that all-important landowner permission and agree access requirements for planting and maintenance, but those are communities in need of trees too.
Trees should not be planted on any private land the public cannot access – we want our communities to experience the sights and sounds of the thriving wildlife that call these trees home.
The tree packs are available in mainland England, Scotland and Wales – some delivery restrictions may apply to the far north of Scotland and we will inform you when placing your order if delivery is an issue.
Unfortunately, trade and biosecurity restrictions mean that Northern Ireland is a challenge at this time – but if we can find a way to meet demand responsibly in the future, then we will!
You can order up to 950 trees = 19 packs. However, in the spirit of the programme and for the sake of the little saplings, we do ask that you only order volumes that you are sure you can plant. We don’t want them ever going to waste!
Subject to availability of trees, and just how exciting your planting scheme is, we may be able to support larger volumes, please contact TCV to discuss your requirements at email@example.com
Sadly no. Due to the scale of this programme we just can’t accommodate this. It works best to keep things simple. But you can choose a mix of different packs.
We’ve worked hard to ensure we have a great range suitable for most locations. We update the choice every year, introducing different species mixes for different habitats, informed by the valued feedback from our communities – so it’s not just the usual suspects every season.
Yes, or no. It’s your choice! Each pack can be supplied with 50 tree guards and supporting canes. But if you don’t need them, then let us know on your order form. If you only want a part order (maybe you have some to re-use) that’s fine too!
Typically, only around half of our orders request tree guards. Perhaps there’s no problem with nibbling mammals, maybe it’s very urban, or a fenced off enclosure. Heard about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? If you don’t need them, then that’s plastic avoided. If you have some to reuse, do it! Always dispose of them responsibly.
Yes, you must obtain permission from the landowner to plant the trees, as all future legal responsibility for the trees will rest with them. That’s not to say your job is done, we want you to play a role in their care and reap the benefits. If you have difficulty establishing who owns the land, you could try the local parish or county council to help find out. Why not ask your local councillor for support?
Yes, and this is very important. Tree planting is a brilliant way to tackle climate change, provide new habitat for wildlife and to restore local greenspace for communities.
There is plenty of space for trees and woodland in the UK, but other habitats are important too! And there may be restrictions that you’re not aware of (special designations, underground services, buildings, roads and power lines etc). That’s why we need you to always secure landowner permission.
All our trees are UK grown native species supplied by TCV’s national tree partners; they are approved suppliers of UK provenance stock in accordance with the Forest Reproductive Materials Regulations (2002).
Order amendments or cancellations of your free trees can be made up to 4 weeks before your agreed delivery date. Beyond this, we regret that we cannot amend your order due to the volume of distribution we have to manage.
Together, we’re planting trees to create a network of pocket forests across the UK and in doing so, we're connecting up wildlife corridors where every tree is valuable for climate and nature.
If the species aren’t exactly the mix you are looking for, just remember – your biodiverse tree pack will attract birds and mammals that subsequently have a wonderful natural ability to plant further trees. Think about the nuts and seeds that squirrels and Jays stash away for winter and forget to dig up, and all the bird droppings containing berry seeds. If they germinate, you find locally sourced trees moving in pretty soon.
In time your pocket forest will develop its own unique character with all the right trees for the wildlife that live there. It's a magical thing to witness!
Your trees will arrive on the date you have requested as your delivery date. Due to the potential of unforeseen weather, logistical and stock issues, we reserve the right to amend your delivery – but we’ll always let you know in good time and keep you fully informed.
Unfortunately, our couriers are not able to call you, they have thousands of deliveries to make. We would expect someone to be available between 9.00-5.00pm on the date you have chosen for delivery.
If possible, our courier will leave the trees in a safe location near to the delivery point. Failing that we will arrange a second delivery, but this could delay you receiving your trees.
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 size of your order. Larger orders (500 trees +) are delivered on a pallet through a national palletline company.
More About Tree Planting in the UK
Well, this can vary, and climate change is making it more complicated.
Generally, trees are ready for delivery and planting from mid-November to the end of March, with the expectation that all trees are planted by the end of April.
Tree planting season begins when the trees are entering their dormant period for the winter. Autumn leaf fall is the sign that we’re nearly there. Saplings can then be lifted, graded and packed ready for dispatch.
National Tree Week is typically the last week in November. It’s an important point in time for us tree fans! It marks the time when tree planting is in full swing, and everyone gets together to celebrate the planting season, share their planting endeavours and future plans, and take part in a national movement.
It’s not all we do! The Conservation Volunteers create, protect, and restore all manner of greenspace and habitats. You can find out more by signing up for our Greenzine Newsletter or join us for a volunteering day in your area.
With trees, we have a proven track record. Over the years we’ve perfected the secret recipe: the right trees, in the right places, doing their thing for climate, wildlife and communities – millions of them, all planted and cared for by our amazing network of I Dig Trees volunteers.
We think our offer is second to none, with native broadleaf species ready to create wildlife-rich pocket forests across the UK, but you be the judge! Check out our free tree planting packs to see which is right for your community.
We might just be able to help! Have you heard of TCV’s Community Network? We believe that every community in the country should have access to high-quality local green spaces – safe, welcoming, and loved by their communities – homes to thriving nature and thriving people. You can sign up for free today and gain access to the Chestnut Fund which offers help to groups with ‘Start-up’ grants and ‘Support’ grants for tree planting tools, equipment and even training.
Then all you need to do is order your free trees from I Dig Trees, and get planting!
Donate and support the planting of trees with TCV! If you'd like to support I Dig Trees, then head to our Individual Supporter page... it costs just £3 to plant a tree with TCV.
Planting Your Trees – Everything You Need To Know
Our packs can contain either, or a mix of both. Due to availability, and how different species respond to different conditions, we’ve taken this approach to ensure we have the best quality trees available should environmental conditions favour the development of one or the other growing methods. These are explained below. They both have their advantages for different situations, but ultimately when you receive your trees – whichever they are, get them in the ground as soon as possible to give them the best chance to thrive.
Bare root trees are open grown saplings. Seedlings are planted in open fields and allowed to develop for a year or two under the tender care of our suppliers. This gives them a great start to develop strong healthy roots and stems with plenty of access to sunlight, rainfall and nutrients from the soil.
When the trees are showing healthy development and are ready to plant out in the landscape (when they’re dormant for the winter), they are lifted with their roots intact, most of the soil is shaken off, and they’re packed in protective packaging to keep them fresh until they’re ready to plant.
Because they’re dormant at this stage, they don’t need too much TLC until the spring when they begin to photosynthesise again – that’s when they need lots of sun, water and nutrients.
Bare rooted trees can dry out if you don’t look after them – so keep them cool in a sheltered space away from heat sources, bright light and potential frost. Check on them from time to time until your planting event and give them a splash of water if they look a bit dry. Try and plant them within a couple of weeks of receiving them. Further guidance can be found here.
Cell grown trees are grown in root trainers. It’s like a little plant pot that enables the tree to grow healthy roots without being in the ground. They need watering as they grow through the summer, but because they’re delivered with their own little ‘pot’ of compost, they’re easy to maintain until planting time. Just keep them cool in a sheltered space away from heat sources, bright light and potential frost. Check on them from time to time until your planting event and give them a splash of water if they look a bit dry. Cell grown trees tend to be delivered in trays with each tree’s root ball carefully wrapped to protect them.
Your fruit trees are grafted onto dwarfing root stock to limit their eventual size but still produce plenty of fruit. This means it will grow approximately 2.5 – 3.5 metres in height at maturity. You may wish to prune them after 3 years to develop their shape, but less is more - you should aim leave enough space for the tree to grow a natural crown shape (approx. 2.5 metre diameter) to ensure a healthy reliable crop.
Fruit trees need plenty of sun, so choose a spot that’s not too shaded. You will need to water your fruit trees in dry spells, especially in the first few years so it’s a good idea to grow near a water source.
Wherever possible, they’ll do best grown in the ground, but if space is tight, or you need to plant in paved areas, we’d recommend the largest planters possible to give the trees room to grow.
The bare root and cell grown trees can be stored in their original packaging for a week or two. Cell grown trees can be stored a little longer. Ideally, you’ll plant them within that time, but if things change, here are some more tips on caring for young trees.
We’ve got you! Check out this tree planting video for everything you need to know. You’ll also get a tree planting guide with your order.
You don’t need anything special. A normal garden spade is absolutely fine. You can up your game with a specific tree planting spade, but it’s not necessary. Something to dig a hole with, gloves and some wellies – you’re pretty much sorted. We list everything you need in our tree planting video.
TCV’s Chestnut Fund also offers help to groups with ‘Start-up’ grants and ‘Support’ grants for tree planting tools, equipment and even training.
You have made it to the end of our FAQs.
Well done! If you still have a burning question we haven’t covered, please contact us below!
Our trees are only planted here in the UK – creating thousands of species rich pocket forests that breathe life into our communities.
This is awe-inspiring people power contributing to UK action on climate change. And with each new planting, we are connecting wildlife corridors that allow nature to flourish. Where will you plant yours?