Plan your tree planting strategy

24 May 2022

Environment Net zero
Young trees in a field

The government's ambitious, long-term vision for trees and woodland in England aims to treble tree planting rates by the end of the current parliament. The England Trees Action Plan (ETAP) provides the vision to 2050 and beyond.

We launched the NFU tree strategy in July 2021. It sets out the opportunities and barriers for the farming industry and our vision for woodland creation, hedgerow planting and management, trees in the wider landscape and agroforestry. This ties into our commitment to net zero farming and the NFU’s Net Zero roadmap.

Farmers play a vital role in managing our iconic countryside and landscapes, including our trees and hedgerows. Tree planting offers many benefits to the environment including capturing carbon, enhancing biodiversity and helping to deliver on the UK’s net zero ambition. Find out how you can get involved in opportunities to plant more trees.

On this page, we have gathered together useful information and links, as well as case studies, to help guide members interested in tree planting to the most appropriate schemes and funding.

National campaigns

The Queen's Green Canopy (QGC)

In partnership with the Woodland Trust, this is a tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee this year. It invites people from across the United Kingdom to 'Plant a Tree for the Jubilee'. We are supportive and as a QGC friend, we encourage members to plant trees and record the activity on the QHC map. Find out more at Queen's Green Canopy (QGC).

Plant the future

The government has launched a campaign to promote woodland creation grants for farmers and landowners. Take a look at funding options, get free specialist advice and find more information on the benefits of creating woodland at Plant the future.

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National funding options

Forestry Commission: England Woodland Creation Officer (EWCO)

Woodland creation grants and maintenance will be available to help landowners and land managers create woodland blocks in excess of five hectares. Find out more at Forestry Commission: England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO).

To see how different funding can be used, read Tree planting and woodland creation case studies from the Forestry Commission.

HS2 Woodland Fund

Funding to create native woodland or restore plantations on ancient woodland sites near to the HS2 route. Find out more from the Forestry Commission at HS2 Woodland Fund.

Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL)

Funding for projects inside National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) boundaries. Projects should meet at least one of the outcomes in four themes: climate, nature, people and place (tree planting could achieve some of these outcomes). Find out more from Defra at Get funding for farming in protected landscapes

Woodland Trust

A number of funds and grants for tree planting and woodland creation.

  • MOREwoods – Funding of up to 75% of costs is available, for where more than 500 trees are planted as woodland on at least half a hectare.
  • Trees for you Farm – Plant 500+ trees to improve productivity and the environment on your farm. Funding of up to 100% of costs is available for agroforestry schemes benefiting the business of productive farms.
  • MOREhedges – Plant 100+ metres of new hedging allowing a large tree to grow every 6 metres, funding of up to 75% of costs is available.

Find out more at the Woodland Trust's page Trees for landowners and farmers.

Forestry England

An offer to lease land to create and manage new woodland to support government plans for woodland creation, nature recovery and progress towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions. It's a unique offer where Forestry England pay a rent and do all the woodland creation on your behalf. Find out more at Forestry England's page on Woodland creation.

Tree Production Capital Grant

The TPCG (Tree Production Capital Grant) provides funding to help tree nurseries and suppliers invest in projects which improve, expand, automate or mechanise their operations. This will help improve the quantity, quality, diversity and biosecurity of supply. It is open to new entrants looking to diversify into the sector and builds on the NFU Tree Strategy ask: ‘Support for new plantings and encourage British sourced and grown saplings supporting our nursery sector.’

Applications are currently open and must be submitted by Thursday 30 June, 11:55pm. Find out more and how to apply on the Forestry Commission's page.

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Regional schemes

North East

NFU Big Farm Tree Planting

The successfully collaboration between the NFU, the Woodland Trust and Lloyds Bank will hand out a total of 5000 trees to 500 members. The scheme has been incredibly popular with registrations for the scheme now closed. If you would like to be added to a waiting list in the event that the NFU North East is able to offer more free trees in the future, please email [email protected]. The scheme demonstrates the interest in small-scale on-farm planting and single trees in the landscape. 

Great Northumberland Forest Plans

Planning to plant one million trees across 500 hectares in Northumberland, creating new forests and delivering more tree planting in the county. Find out more at Great Northumberland Forest Plans, and read about the support and funding options available from Northumberland County Council.

White Rose Action Plan 2021-25 (North and West Yorkshire)

Aiming to plant seven million trees, the equivalent of 4900 football pitches or 3500 hectares across North and West Yorkshire over the next four years. Find out more at White Rose Action Plan 2021-25 and read about the support and funding options available on White Rose Forest's Plant trees on your land page.

Northern Forest

Already established over three million new trees since 2018 and aiming to plant at least 50 million trees across the north of England.

Find out more about financial support for large scale woodland creation in the Northern Forest area, delivered through innovative models and mechanisms, at Tree Planting & Supporting the Northern Forest. If you own or manage land, the Northern Forest can fund up to 100% of the costs of woodland creation through the government’s Nature for Climate Fund.

North West

Mersey Forest (Mersey and North Cheshire)

One of England’s Community Forests, working to create woodlands and help people explore the nature on their doorstep through the growing network of woodlands and green spaces across Cheshire and Merseyside. Find out more at Mersey Forest and read about which Support and funding options  available on their page Woodland advice and grants for landowners.

New Community Forest for Cumbria

A new coastal community forest of up to 150 hectares will be created along Cumbria’s west coast to help bring people closer to nature. Find out more, including which grants are available, from Defra on their page about New community forest for Cumbria.

Northern Forest

Already established over three million new trees since 2018 and aiming to plant at least 50 million trees across the north of England.

Find out more about financial support for large scale woodland creation in the Northern Forest area, delivered through innovative models and mechanisms, at Tree Planting & Supporting the Northern Forest. If you own or manage land, the Northern Forest can fund up to 100% of the costs of woodland creation through the government’s Nature for Climate Fund.

East Midlands

Leicestershire County Council’s tree schemes

For farmers and landowners to plant trees, woodland and hedges in rural areas of the county. Find out more at Apply for trees: Trees and hedges for new planting.

Northamptonshire County Council's tree planting scheme

In support of the Woodland Trust, this scheme has seen 56,000 trees and shrubs planted over the last five years. It focuses on large-scale planting of hedges (100m or more) and trees (100 to 500). Find out more at the Council's Tree planting scheme page.

2022 Commonwealth Games legacy forests

Aiming to plant 2022 acres of forest and help the Birmingham 2022 Games to become the first ever carbon neutral Commonwealth Games. Find out more from Severn Trent Water on their Legacy forests page.

Looking for landowners to donate suitable land to meet their goal of planting 1.3 million trees, improving nature and giving better access to green spaces across the region. Find out more at Severn Trent's Commonwealth Games legacy forests page.

National Forest

Advice and funding support is available in many projects that help to create and sustain the National Forest. Find out more at their Grant opportunities page.

Northern Forest

Already established over three million new trees since 2018 and aiming to plant at least 50 million trees across the north of England.

Find out more about financial support for large scale woodland creation in the Northern Forest area, delivered through innovative models and mechanisms, at Tree Planting & Supporting the Northern Forest. If you own or manage land, the Northern Forest can fund up to 100% of the costs of woodland creation through the government’s Nature for Climate Fund.

West Midlands

2022 Commonwealth Games legacy forests

Aiming to plant 2022 acres of forest and help the Birmingham 2022 Games to become the first ever carbon neutral Commonwealth Games. Find out more from Severn Trent Water on their Legacy forests page.

Looking for landowners to donate suitable land to meet their goal of planting 1.3 million trees, improving nature and giving better access to green spaces across the region. Find out more at Severn Trent's Commonwealth Games legacy forests page.

National Forest

Advice and funding support is available in many projects that help to create and sustain the National Forest. Find out more at their Grant opportunities page.

Trees for Shropshire

Planting schemes across Shropshire to promote biodiversity, including tree and hedge planting, creating clearings and habitats for wildlife rather than block planting. Find out more at Trees for Shropshire.

Forest of Mercia

For over 30 years Forest of Mercia has been planting pockets of woodland and hedgerows across Staffordshire.

Funding options including grants are available, as well as community and landowner engagement to develop new approaches to long term woodland management, greater levels of sustainability and find innovative new models of woodland delivery that may help to shape the future of community forestry forever. Find out more at Tree Planting Forest of Mercia.

Tree planting in the Shropshire Hills

Aiming to connect and restore existing woodland, plant small woodlands and hedgerows, and build a joined-up network of habitats that allow wildlife and people to thrive. Tree planting advice is available. Find out more at Tree planting in the Shropshire Hills.

East Anglia

Previous regional schemes are now closed. We will share more information of current schemes when available.

South East

Oxfordshire Treescape Project

Farmers and landowners can access free advice and the Oxfordshire Treescape Opportunity Map, a powerful tool that shows the right places to establish treescapes for the right reasons. Find out more at Oxfordshire Treescape Project.

Sylva Foundation

Free consultation with a professional forestry agent for woodland area owners in the southeast of England. Find out more at Sylva Foundation.

South West

Forest for Cornwall

Helping residents, businesses and communities plant the right trees in the right place for the right purpose, and tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

Find out more about support and funding options at Forest for Cornwall and landowners, farmers and businesses.

Ourboretum

Growing a virtual arboretum across Gloucestershire, to help replace the trees that are dying from the incurable ash dieback disease. You can grow the trees yourself or offer land for the trees to be planted on. Find out more from BBC Radio Gloucestershire at BBC - Ourboretum.

Gloucestershire County Council – Open call for land – trees need you!

The council is looking for landowners to offer land to plant approximately 360,000 trees over the next three years. Find out more at Gloucestershire County Council – Open call for land – trees need you!

Gloucestershire County Council – Tree challenge

 Local authority-led community tree planting schemes, connecting green infrastructure and infilling in urban areas. Find out at Gloucestershire County Council – Tree challenge.

Carrant Catchment Restoration Project

An open collaborative partnership project that incorporates both the Carrant and Isbourne rivers. It aims to restore, enhance and improve wildlife habitats, including native trees and hedge planting, orchard restoration and creating wildlife corridors.

They are looking for more local partners such as farmers, landowners, beekeeping, gardening and other environmental community groups to join. Find out more from the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group South West on their page about the Carrant Catchment Restoration Project.

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Tree planting advice

The right tree needs to be planted in the right place and in the right way for it to establish and flourish. It is important to familiarise yourself with practical tree planting advice and guidance. This should help you select the planting site, the appropriate species and size of stock, planting techniques and methods of tree protection.

The Tree Council planting guide sets out the main considerations when planting trees.

The Woodland Trust provides advice on three ways to plant a tree.

Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE) advice includes virtual webinars on integrating trees into farming systems and trees, carbon and climate change.

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Case studies

NFU key policy asks

  • The 'right tree in the right place': the need to consider factors such as the tree species, appropriate sourcing to match the location and the long-term objectives.
  • An ask to see incentives to bring existing woodlands back into management and this should be a priority over new plantings.
  • Urging the government to address key existing policy barriers, crucially the existing tenancy clauses which prevent 30% of our agricultural land from engaging in tree planting.
  • Increased recognition and incentives for trees outside of woodlands. These contribute enormously to our natural environment and landscape features and act as important carbon sinks.
  • A need for a separate ELMs offer for commercial forestry and large woodlands, recognising the complexity of forestry delivery.
  • Support for our nursery sector, with British sourced and grown saplings encouraged for new plantings.

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NFU member asks

  • Contact your local Forestry Commission Woodland Officer for guidance and more information about tree planting opportunities in your area.
  • Record your tree planting on the NFU Net Zero map and share your tree planting activities on social media by tagging us @NFUtweets and using the hashtag #BackBritishFarming.
  • If you’re unsure about any contracts or legal information when entering tree planting schemes or agreements, it is important to consider taking professional advice. We offer a legal service through our internal and external legal professionals working together for the benefit of our members. Our in-house legally qualified advisers can assist you through our NFU Legal Assistance Scheme (LAS) and NFU Contract Checking Service.
  • If you are aware of any other schemes not included or would like to be included as a tree planting case study, please let us know using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

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