How to plant a tree

Did you know?

  • Just 13% of the UK’s total land area has tree cover (compared to an EU average of 35%).
  • Doubling UK woodland cover could help absorb 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions annually.
  • Not only do trees absorb carbon, they fight flooding, reduce pollution, nurture wildlife and make landscapes more resilient.
  • In a year, a single mature tree can absorb up to about 22kg CO2. That’s roughly equivalent to driving 10 miles in heavy traffic.
  • 100 mature trees can absorb roughly a third of an average annual UK carbon footprint (excluding stuff we buy and international flights).

Every tree counts, and we need more trees in cities like Oxford. If two thirds of all households in Oxford planted just one tree in their garden, we would have an additional 40,000 trees, which in time could grow into the equivalent of a tenth of Wytham Woods!

This short video from the RHS talks you through what you need to consider if you want to plant a tree.

In summary, think about:

When to plant:  According to expert organisations like the Tree Council, bare-root trees should be planted during the dormant season. In dry areas, late autumn planting is best for most species as this gives trees a chance to become established before spring droughts. In wet areas, early spring planting is best. Container-grown trees can be planted all year round, although late autumn or early spring is still best. In all cases, avoid days when the ground is frozen.

Which species do you want to plant? The Woodland Trust has an extensive guide on 31 native tree species, including soil preferences, average height, unique qualities and more. And here’s some advice from the RHS on choosing a tree for a small garden, or watch this video which highlights some suitable trees with particular autumn interest for small gardens. For domestic gardens, consider going for fruit trees – they are good for polinators and of course provide fruit.

Where will your tree go: Think about where you’re planting in relation to your house, your neighbours, and any other buildings. Consider its ultimate size, where roots and branches might go, shading, and so on. Some roots and branches may spread beyond the boundaries of your property and trees can cause structural damage. Be aware of places where limbs may fall or roots might grow. More advice from the Woodland Trust here.

Prepare the ground and plant your tree! As well as the video above, you can find guidance from the Woodland Trust here. The Woodland Trust also provides advice on how to care for your trees.

If you want to grow your tree from seed, here’s some guidance from the RHS. If you want to plant an acorn to grow into an oak tree, take a look at this care guide produced by Oxford University society Oxford Trees for the Future.

And if you don’t have enough space or a garden, or want to do more? Join us for National Tree Week on 30 November from 10am, to plant more trees at Sunnymead Rec Ground, North Oxford. More information here.

Other ways you can take action and get involved:

Please note: Low Carbon West Oxford’s tree planting event on 24 November (previously mentioned in this post) has unfortunately been cancelled due to flooding.

Useful links


Note: The information in this post is based on information provided by organisations with experience and knowledge of planting trees. LCON does not accept liability for any loss or problems arising from use of any materials on this or linked sites.

One thought on “How to plant a tree

  1. Pingback: National Tree Week starts 23 November – help us plant more trees in North Oxford! - Low Carbon Oxford North

Comments are closed.