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Planting trees - Queen's Green Canopy

You can plant on your own private land, but should always seek permission from the landowner if you want to plant elsewhere.

You do not need planning permission to plant less than two hectares (20,000 sq metres) in a low risk area.

These are places that have no existing designations. Otherwise you would need an Environmental Impact Assessment from the Forestry Commission.

For schools and community groups thinking about planting at your school, please make sure you speak to the Council's Education team to plan your planting and ensure it is in a suitable location and the right species are being used.

The space needed depends on the size of the tree planted and how much it will grow.
  • Woodland setting: Plant 3m to 4m apart
  • Hedgerow plants: Plant 4 per metre in a staggered row

Tree types depend on the type of soil you have, but generally you should try to plant native species.

Examples include:

  • In chalky soil: beech, large leaved lime, bird cherry, yew, field maple hazel or wayfaring tree
  • In clay soil: common oak, ash, hawthorn, crab apple, hazel, wild cherry or dogwood
  • In peat: avoid planting

You will most likely want to plant juvenile trees or saplings. These come in two types:

  • Whips: Normally 100 to 125cm (although may be smaller)
  • Feathered or feathered whip: Approximately 175 to 250cm tall

Free trees for certain groups and where to buy.

The Woodland Trust may provide free trees for certain community groups and schools. If you are not eligible for this scheme, the Woodland Trust also have a wide range of trees available to buy.

If looking elsewhere, make sure you purchase from a reputable nursery or garden centre. This will help to make sure they are free from pests or diseases which could spread to other nearby trees.

There are also various schemes and grants available if you would like to do some larger scale planting, including:

The tree planting season broadly runs from October to April, so you should aim to complete your planting during these months.

Simple steps

  • Mark out the location of your trees, leaving at least 1.5m between trees, and make sure you’ve removed the turf or immediate vegetation (1m radius)
  • Dig holes deep enough to allow all of the roots to be buried, then backfill the hole, pressing down the soil firmly around the plant. Dig holes beforehand if younger people are involved
  • Pop a cane in next to the tree and add your tree guard

The Woodland Trust provide a step-by-step video to help.


You will need:

  • Spades
  • Mower / secateurs to cut back vegetation
  • Gardening gloves
  • Water: Water your trees well once they are in the ground
  • Tree guards and canes: These help support the tree and keep rabbits off so plants can establish. We recommend biodegradable tree guards

A high proportion of trees that are planted may not survive without some looking after.

Following these steps in the weeks and months after planting should help to keep your trees in excellent health into spring and beyond:

  • Is it alive?: If there are no leaves, look for green under the bark of twigs (scrape the surface with a fingernail or knife) and living buds. Fill in any gaps in the soil around the roots and use a foot to pat firm the new soil. If the soil is waterlogged, channel/drain the excess away from the tree. Look for pests and diseases
  • Keep trees well-watered: Trees often need a little help keeping hydrated for their first few years of their lives. This can be even more important if you experience a frost
  • Check your guards: Tree guards are intended to stop animals damaging young trees by eating the shoots and leaves or stripping the bark. Check the guards in spring and autumn to ensure they are effective (no bark missing, or twigs bitten or broken off) and not rubbing or cutting into the tree. – If a guard is inadequate, add more protection, eg a taller tube to protect against deer, or fencing to keep off cows and other farm animals
  • Check your stakes: In the first year of a tree’s life, you can stake your tree to reduce the chance of breakage from strong winds. When you tie the tree to the stake, leave room for the trunk to move and sway to encourage strong trunk growth. Check on the stake and the tie. It should allow the tree to sway, without rubbing on stake or tie. Does the tree still need a stake? Check this in spring by releasing the tie and if the tree stays upright, remove the stake. If the tree leans and the roots move, re-tie it to a shortened stake
  • Clear away weeds: Pull up or mow any grass and weeds carefully (to avoid root damage) for a radius of at least half a metre around the stem. After planting and for the next few years, you should check the tree in March or April to see how the tree is getting on

How to obtain a commemorative plaque to celebrate the planting of Jubilee trees is published The Queen's Green Canopy website.

When you have planted your tree(s), take a photo and upload it to the Queen's Green Canopy online map.

Gardening club members at the Hawthorns Retirement Village in Upton have planted an oak tree as a lasting legacy in honour of Her Majesty’s ascension to the throne nearly 70 years ago.

West Northamptonshire residents come together to 'plant a tree for Jubilee'

Last updated 27 January 2023