Frequently Asked Questions

 

Please see below for answers to many questions about trees and The Tree Council.

Can The Tree Council assist in a campaign to save trees in my local area?
How do I go about protecting a tree in my local area?
Does The Tree Council have grants available for planting trees and hedges?
Can I donate trees in my garden to The Tree Council?
Can The Tree Council provide help for local tree planting?
Who can I contact to give tree health advice / carry out work on a tree?
Who can I contact about tree diseases?
Can someone from the Tree Council give a talk to our local community/school?
What do I do if I'm interested in becoming a volunteer Tree Warden?
What type of trees should I be planting / what tree species are good for my area?
Where can I find advice on how to look after my local trees?
Where can I find more information regarding control or conservation of squirrel population in my area?
How many trees does the UK need to plant to help in the fight against Climate Change?
Which are the best trees to plant to capture carbon?
Is there a UK project which is doing a national planting campaign to tackle Climate Change?

Why can’t someone take the tree that’s grown too big for my garden and plant it elsewhere?

Can The Tree Council assist in a campaign to save trees in my local area?
The Tree Council is a very small charity and unfortunately we do not have the resources to get involved in local disputes but can give this advice: speak to the Tree or Arboricultural Officer in your local authority, as they deal with all the tree matters in the area; seek maximum support for your views from local residents' associations or natural history societies, and local councillors; and gain publicity for your concerns through local press and radio.
For help with campaigning for trees under threat you can contact our member organisations The Woodland Trust.

How do I go about protecting a tree in my local area?
Your local authority can issue a Tree Preservation Order for specific trees. If a tree is protected by a TPO, the local authority’s consent is required before it may be felled or pruned. Trees located in Conservation Areas also have a degree of protection. To check whether a tree is protected, or to protect a tree, you should contact your local authority.
For more information about TPO’s visit the gov.uk website.
For a user friendly guide to TPO’s see the guide by The Tree Council member, Trees for Cities.

Does The Tree Council have grants available for planting trees and hedges?
The Tree Council runs the Tree Futures grants programme which provides Schools and Community groups with money for tree planting projects. For more information please see our grants page. We also have various grant schemes for planting hedges, oak saplings, regenerating bluebell woods, and planting woodland wildflowers. These grant schemes are only available to Tree Council member organisations. The Tree Council can offer many benefits to our member organisations; if your organisation is interested in becoming a member, please read more about our membership scheme.
Information on tree planting grants from other organisations can be found here.

Can I donate trees in my garden to The Tree Council?
The Tree Council doesn't own any land and any tree planting which we are involved with is carried out through our Tree Wardens and member organisations. If you have trees which need a home you can contact a number of organisations in your local area: your district council, community groups, farms, schools, nurseries, garden centres, wildlife trusts, and conservation organisations in the area (e.g. Groundwork, TCV). You can also contact anyone who is holding an event in your area during National Tree Week who might like more trees to plant. See our events page for details.

Can The Tree Council provide help for local tree planting?
The Tree Council runs the Tree Futures grants programme which provides schools and community groups with money for tree planting projects. We sell a number of publications covering tree planting and organising events. On hand help and advice can be obtained from our volunteer Tree Wardens; see our networks page for contact details. We have posters to download to help promote your event and we can publicise your event on our website to encourage participation.

Who can I contact to give tree health advice / carry out work on a tree?
Several of our member organisations can put you in touch with a local professional tree surgeon or consultant, such as the Arboricultural Association or the Consulting Arborist Society. A full list of Tree Council members can be found here.

Who can I contact about tree diseases?
For queries about specific trees in your area, we advise that you contact the Tree Officer at your local authority.

Can someone from the Tree Council give a talk to our local community / school?
There are only four members of staff at The Tree Council but our 8,000 volunteer Tree Wardens throughout the country are on hand to help and advise with all tree related issues. You can find contact details of your local coordinator on our Tree Warden Networks map, who can put you in contact with your nearest Tree Warden who may be willing to give talks or offer advice.

What do I do if I'm interested in becoming a volunteer Tree Warden?
See our Tree Warden section which is packed full of all the information you need on what being a Tree Warden entails. Our Tree Warden Networks map has contact details of all local coordinators who can get you started. If there are no local networks, contact the Tree Officer in your local authority to discuss the possibility of starting one; we can also help with setting up a new network.

What type of trees should I be planting / what species are good for my area?
The best species of tree to plant is dependent on many different factors, including growing conditions, position of the site, reasons for planting etc. The best thing to do is to look around your local area to see what species of trees are common and thriving. Then you can seek advice from your local nursery or garden centre. The Tree Council book ‘Trees In Your Ground’, offers some useful tips on choosing a tree for your space, and can be bought online. If you want advice about the best species to plant near railway lines (and those not to plant) please click here for useful information from our member organisation Network Rail.

Where can I find advice on how to look after my local trees?
The Tree Council's national Tree Care Campaign, runs from March to September and highlights the need for better care for all trees, in order to ensure their survival and increase the number reaching maturity. Please visit our Tree Care Campaign pages for more information and downloads on tree care and survival. Please also take a look at the Forestry Commission's Tree Care Guide.

Where can I find more information regarding control or conservation of squirrel population in my area?

Unfortunately, The Tree Council is unable to advise the public regarding the control or conservation of squirrel population in any area of the United Kingdom. Anyone who needs more information regarding this issue can look at following website: www.greysquirrelcontrol.co.uk/our-objectives.php. Red Squirrels Northern England, RSNE is a red squirrel conservation partnership working right across Northern England and their website www.rsne.org.uk can provide valuable information regarding the British squirrels including advice on squirrel population control. Also, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust is a national body established to ensure the conservation and protection of the red squirrels in the UK and their website, www.rsst.org.uk also contains crucial information regarding the conservation of British red squirrels.

How many trees does the UK need to plant to help in the fight against Climate Change?
The current disparity in tree coverage between UK and the rest of Europe is huge, with half the coverage in the UK in comparison. There is clearly still a long way to go in the fight to increase tree coverage. Carbon is constantly being emitted whilst trees are being cut down, so the more trees planted the better. The Forestry Commission’s dedicated webpage on Climate Change has useful information regarding Trees and Climate Change.

Which are the best trees to plant to capture carbon?
Any trees can be planted, as long as they are the right trees in the right places. For more information what trees to plant, when and where, visit the ‘useful information’ section of our website

Is there a UK project which is doing a national planting campaign to tackle Climate Change?
There isn’t a UK project which is doing this specifically, however there is a nationwide campaign called the Campaign against Climate Change, which aims to push for the urgent and radical actions needed to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate. If you would like more information about the campaign, please visit their website.

In terms of national campaigns to plant more trees in UK, the Tree Council runs National Tree Week and other Community Action Programmes to encourage everyone to plant and care for trees, to tackle climate change as well as the myriad other reasons that trees are important.

Why can’t someone take the tree that’s grown too big for my garden and plant it elsewhere?

Preparing a tree for transplant yourself
The survival of a transplanted tree that is anything over 4 years old and that is either self sown or was planted as a whip, depends on it having enough of a surviving root system to supply its canopy with water in the summer - so if you have a tree that you really want to try and move then you need to prepare it for the trauma of moving during the winter in the year before you move it.

Things to bear in mind before you start are the size and weight of the root ball and whether it will be feasible to lift and transport it to its new site. If you decide it is, then at the beginning of the winter cut a spade’s depth around the tree to sever the roots at a distance from the trunk that will give you a root ball that you can move.  The tree will then respond by developing a more extensive fibrous root system inside the cut area that will help to support the tree once you dig it up completely and transplant it in the following winter.

Once planted in its new position, the tree will need to be well staked for several years until it establishes roots to anchor it into the surrounding soil. It will also need to be well watered as it comes into leaf in the following spring and through the summer and may need watering for several years in dry weather.

Offering your tree to a tree nursery
Major tree nurseries tell us that it is highly unlikely that anyone would want to lift and move a domestic grown tree commercially, that is, lift the tree and take it onto a nursery for resale. Trees can, of course, sometimes be lifted and moved to another site and there is specialised equipment, in the form of a tree spade, designed to accommodate this.  Domestic sites are often in an area of restricted access and that, combined with the size of rootball that it would be necessary to lift with the tree would make it very difficult and expensive. Resale of such a tree would also prove very expensive as it would need time to recover in a container, probably two years at that size. The costs involved in both the lifting and growing on would make the final sale price prohibitive.

There is also a question mark about the success of the tree in a new planting site. If it has not been regularly transplanted, as it would on a nursery, or prepared for removal by the site owner, the roots would be well spread out away from the trunk, so potentially a lot of root would be lost in moving the tree - which would then give the tree even less chance of survival. It would certainly struggle for the first year or two as it recovers and even then success is not guaranteed. Anchoring would also prove expensive as underground guying may not be enough to stabilise the tree, particularly if the full crown is retained.

To add to this scenario large trees are readily available in the open market at all sizes, with 30ft trees in 1000 litre containers being quite usual. For example, a Ginkgo tree of about 20' may cost about £400 rootballed, so when you consider all the time and work needed to produce and deliver one there would not be much value to a nursery in lifting one from a domestic setting.

From a cost point of view it seldom makes sense, and from a viability point of view it would be too risky to spend any money on digging a tree up, with a good chance of failure.  Sadly it is difficult to conclude anything other than the tree will have to be lost if it is causing a problem because of its size in its current position.

Who will take it?
The best suggestion is to contact the local council Tree Officer and see if there is a need for such a tree, for example, in a local park. However, someone would still have to pay for a landscape company or specialist tree moving company to dig it up, transport and replant - and keep fingers crossed that it takes.  Good access would be required for machinery and the exercise still carries the risk that the tree will not survive and so may not be an attractive proposition to a council with limited budget.

Alternatively, the Tree Officer may know of a local group who might take a tree that is able to be more readily transported, once the site owner has undertaken the necessary preparation over the preceding year.