Tree planting advice

It is important to increase tree cover in the county, but it is just as important to plant the right trees and in the right places. We must be careful that increasing tree cover doesn’t lead to the loss of rare and special habitats.

We're happy to provide guidance on

Our advice is suitable for individuals, schools or small groups. Landowners and managers should seek large-scale planting advice from The Woodland Trust

If you haven’t got room for trees in your garden, there’s still plenty you can do to help tackle the climate and ecological emergency: The Kent Wildlife Trust has lots of wild gardening advice.

Selecting your trees

Select native, broadleaf trees sourced from, and grown in, the UK to reduce the risk of tree disease and pests. Find a supplier that can guarantee the origin of the tree.

If planting lots of trees, consider using a mix of native species; a broad range of native tree species will make the planting more resilient to pollution, climate change, pest and disease pressures.

When selecting a tree species you should plant trees that already thrive in your area.

Consider the soil type so the trees you select grow and thrive.

Consider the space you have so you don't select a tree too big for the area. Think about space both along the ground and upwards.

You should consider what you want from your trees:

  • do you want spring or autumn colour?
  • do you want a large canopy to provide shade?
  • do you want to produce fruit or nuts?

Think about how your trees will attract and support wildlife. Do you want:

  • nectar and pollen for bees?
  • foliage for caterpillars, moths and butterflies?
  • thicket for birds to nest?
  • berries and nuts, for birds and other wildlife to feed on?

Tree species to consider are:

  • Large, for example oak or maple
  • Medium, for example elder, field maple, hawthorn, holly, and yew
  • Small, for example hazel, blackthorn, crab-apple and goat willow.

The Woodland Trust have a useful guide to native tree species.

Planting your trees

The Woodland Trust recommend planting saplings which are 1 to 2 years old. Planting is best done between October and April and you should avoid waterlogged or frozen soil. You should check if your saplings need tree-guards, and if they do consider biodegradable tree guards instead of plastic ones.

Consider the landscape and habitat you’re in, be aware of any under or above ground services and design your planting accordingly.

Do not plant trees in:

  • archaeological sites
  • sites with rare or protected species
  • grassland that has never been ploughed
  • wetlands
  • heathland.

In England, planning permission isn’t needed if your project is under 2 hectares and in a low risk area.

If you are unsure about the location you’re planting in contact the Forestry Commission for advice.

You can also seek advice from:

Grants and funding

There are lots of organisations offering support to people looking to plant trees and increase tree coverage.