Free trees for Parish councils

The free tree scheme has also been extended to Parish councils across the district who can apply for up to 50 Oak, Silver Birch, Rowan, Hawthorn or Field Maple trees. The parish council must propose the location, provided they have permission to use the site and confirm that they will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the trees.

If you belong to a parish council please do not apply for free trees using the same link as residents. All parish councils have been contacted with an application form that they must return to us before Friday, February 21 2020.

Applying for your free tree

Our 2019 free tree scheme for residents is now closed. 

We would love to see your tree planting photos. Tag us on social media - @NSDCouncil.

Trees available in the 2019 scheme:

Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) - the crab apple is a beautiful medium-sized deciduous tree that grows to a height of around 12m. It likes most moist but well drained soils, in full or partial sun. White flowers open in clusters during April and May, followed by small hard edible fruits during autumn. The apples are too sour to eat raw, but they can be made into jelly. It is a good tree for wildlife, as bees and other insects visit the flowers and birds and small mammals will eat the fruit.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) – the rowan is another attractive medium-sized deciduous tree that grows to a height of around 12m. It likes well drained loam or sandy soils, in full or partial sun. Creamy white flowers open in clusters in May and June, followed by red berries and attractive leaf colour in autumn. The berries can be used to make Rowan jelly and are a favourite food for birds. The sweet scented flowers are attractive to pollinating insects making the Rowan a great tree for wildlife.

Tree planting tips

  • Treat your tree gently, as rough handling or being dropped can shock the roots, and it will take the trees longer to get established.
  • When you get your trees home, store them somewhere cool, outside. Do not let the roots dry out, so keep them covered. They should be planted within a couple of weeks of receiving them. If you need to store them for longer then give them a temporary home in a pot and remember to transplant them during the dormant season (Dec to March).
  • If you have a small garden or patio you can put each in a large pot permanently. The size of the pot will determine how big the tree gets, as once the roots have filled the pot the tree will stop growing. If you put your pot over soil, the roots will grow down through holes at the bottom of the pot into the ground so do be careful!
  • If planting directly into the ground, check distance from your own and your neighbour’s property and make sure your hole is big enough for all the roots to fit in comfortably.

Safe planting distances

When you plant, remember to take into account your neighbour's property too.

Safe planting distances depend on the depth of your foundations and the type of soil. Shallow foundations, such as for conservatories, and clay soil require the greatest minimum planting distance, so in these instances make sure the tree is as far from a building as it will eventually grow in height.

If your foundations are deeper than 1m, or if you intend to prune the tree to restrict its height, you can plant closer to buildings than the recommended minimum distances.

Recommended minimum planting distance from buildings:

Rowan: 8-10metres from buildings

Crab Apple: 5-7metres from buildings

Or as close as you want if you plant them in a large pot on a paved area!


Planting for the future

In July 2019, we joined other local authorities across the country in declaring a climate emergency and in doing so, have pledged to work towards developing measures to offset global warming. As part of this, we announced a major programme of tree planting projects to follow on from our highly successful Cleaner, Safer and Greener campaign and in particular, the Greener element of that initiative.

Through the programme, over the next five years, more than 10,000 trees will be planted across the district, which comprises a free tree scheme for residents as well as community planting projects with schools, businesses and local volunteer groups.

By increasing the number of trees in the district, not only are we making our communities more attractive, greener places to live and work, we are assisting the government in meeting its crucial target of planning 11 million trees between now and 2022.



The free tree scheme is being supported by Crowders Nurseries - a nationally renowned wholesale grower of trees, shrubs & plants.

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