We supply trees free of charge to healthcare sites in England. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about ordering trees from us. If you have any other questions, please email us at info@nhsforest.org.

To order trees, fill out our expression of interest form.

Want to talk to someone about your tree planting project?

Come along to one of our tree planting online drop-in sessions. All sessions are on Microsoft Teams.

14th February 2024. Join us anytime between 12.00pm – 12:30pm

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 331 881 586 220
Passcode: 4wy7MT

Need information about the benefits of trees?

You might find our blog about why humans need trees full of useful information about the benefits of planting trees on healthcare sites.

Funding and Application Process

The majority of our trees are funded by Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund, with support from the Forestry Commission. We are also funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Defra and the Forestry Commission through the Trees Call to Action Fund. We are also grateful for the support of our corporate partners and individual sponsorships.

Yes, there is no limit on the number of separate applications that can be made for this or subsequent planting seasons. 

There is no upper limit – you can request as many of each bundle type as required. 

We offer a broad range of bundles to account for a range of outcomes suitable for your trust. However, if your scheme is likely to be larger than 500 trees, we can offer you a bespoke selection of trees. For this type of order we can offer a wider variety of trees from the Forestry Commission permitted species list (subject to availability).

Any order over 500 trees qualifies for a more bespoke order. With these larger schemes, you can choose a more tailored selection of trees. Sometimes larger schemes entail consultation with the local Forestry Commission woodland advisor, who can give site and design advice. For bespoke orders leave a longer lead time. If we are sourcing the stock specifically it may take us longer than three weeks for delivery. 

This season we cannot offer any bundles smaller than 30 trees. However, you are welcome to receive the bundles and split them up if you are planting across multiple planting locations or multiple healthcare sites.

Yes, you can split your order across multiple sites, so long as appropriate evidence is collected for each of these planting sites.  

You will need to sign the CSH Tree Planting Agreement and submit a few additional bits of supporting evidence (planting maps and site photos).

This is a requirement from Defra and helps them to ensure that the trees they are funding end up in the ground. 

The Forestry Commission will randomly visit a selection of sites. It is possible that your site will be chosen and the Forestry Commission will come and see your tree-planting work.  

Much of our work is focused on tree planting as our funding is subject to restrictions around the proportion of hedging that can be included. We recommend applicants plant groups of trees wherever practicable to deliver the benefits of increased canopy in healthcare settings.

However, we understand that hedging may be appropriate for some sites and is itself a valuable asset for biodiversity. Therefore we offer a hedge bundle as part of our tree offer.

We endeavour to facilitate as much hedgerow planting as we can within the scope of our grant. To be able to offer hedging to as many applicants as possible we need to apply the following qualifications to any expressions of interest that include hedging:

  • We will prioritize all expressions of interest that comprise less than 25% hedging.
  • For larger projects (upwards of 500 trees) we will prioritise schemes with up to 40% hedging.
  • Any applications exceeding these thresholds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Tree Specifications and Delivery

The tree bundles are made up of tree whips which are between 20cm and 60cm tall. Our trees are cell-grown which means the tree seeds are propagated in little soil filled pots. The soil they have grown into is retained and sent to you. This helps retain nutrients and moisture. Details on how big the trees will grow can be found in our bundles guide.  

Our tree bundles are made of native broadleaf trees. You can find a complete list of species for each bundle in our bundles guide. 

 

Whips are small but mighty one-year-old tree saplings. The ones we supply are between 20cm and 60cm. It is common practice in the tree-planting industry to plant small tree whips. This is because they are much lighter and therefore cheaper to send by post. 

Hygienic practices are essential to avoid the transmission of germs and bacteria within a hospital, and similarly biosecurity precautions serve to mitigate the introduction and spread of pests and diseases on live plants and soil. We require our nursery suppliers to demonstrate systematic biosecurity practices so we can be sure that any trees you receive through NHS Forest will be free from any insects, pathogens, bacteria, and fungi, and all our tree bundles are supplied from Plant Healthy certified nurseries that are compliant with the requirements of the Plant Health Management Standard. 

All trees in the bundles this season will be cell-grown, rather than bare-root. These trees will be one-year-old seedlings, which are between 20cm and 60cm in length. We choose cell-grown because it is beneficial to the trees to maintain that moist, nutrient rich soil around their roots. They’re a bit more robust and therefore happier to wait an extra week before going in the ground than bare-root trees. This gives your healthcare sites a bit more flexibility around planting dates.  

We have chosen to supply cell-grown trees as they have a longer shelf life and resilience when planting. Despite this we recommend that trees are planted within a week – two weeks at the very most.

All bundles are supplied with biodegradable 60cm spiral guards and 90cm bamboo canes for each tree.

From the point at which you submit your Tree Planting Agreement and evidence, we have a lead time of around three weeks. However, this could be pushed back to fit around your planting schedule.  

No, our grant conditions mean trees must be planted directly into the earth. This is to increase the likelihood of longterm success. We want these trees to grow live a long time and to grow to a healthy size so their benefits can be felt as much as possible.

We will only be able to supply trees during the planting season (November-March). There are much higher rates of losses for trees planted outisde of the winter months and we strongly discourage this. 

Planting Guidelines and Support

You can find more information about how to plant trees in our Tree Planting Guidance Pack.

For help with maintenance, please see our Tree planting guide.

We recommend that for the first five years you introduce a maintenance programme that looks at: 

  • maintaining a weed or grass-free ring of one-metre diameter around young trees
  • regularly adding organic material such as mulch (at least 10cm think)
  • watering young saplings if needed in spring and summer
  • checking stakes and guards. Stakes should be straight to encourage vertical growth. Guards should be resting on the ground to discourage small animals from nibbling.  

Where you can, involve local volunteers from staff or the local community with your project. Involvement in tree planting can foster a sense of ownership and protection and reduce the risk of failure 

Due to the number of applications we receive we are not able to offer 1-1 support. However, we do offer some general advice about what to consider and more useful information and assets can be found in our digital tree pack.

We require a success rate of 90% for our trees. We know that not every tree will survive, but if you choose a good location and follow our advice then a high survival rate should be the norm.

‘Beat up’ means the process of checking the trees once they are planted and then replacing trees which have failed.  

Site and Location Eligibility

You can find out more by looking at  Historic England’s definition of natural designations. They include sites such as Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas. Your NHS site might fall within one of these designations. It’s important for us to do our due diligence and ensure our planting doesn’t interfere with special designated habitats. 

Larger orders may require an Environmental Impact Assessment to check that your site is not within one of these designated areas. This is a quick deskbased assessment that we can do using GIS Mapping and is done to ensure that the right trees are going in the right place 

Only land which is part of the NHS England estate qualifies for our main programme. There are other options if you wish to get free trees for non-NHS land or healthcare sites outside of England. We may be able to help you with these.

We cannot support tree planting which is on land that will be developed. We also ask that if the land is leased there is at least 30 years left on the tenancy. This is to ensure the trees have adequate time to mature and create the canopy cover.

Our main funding grant is restricted to planting trees on sites in England only. However, we may be able to provide some trees for sites outside of England so please get in touch to enquire.

Other Specific Queries

In planting season November 2024 – March 2025 we will have a limited number of standard and orchard trees to offer to applicants. Sign up to our mailing list to hear about these first.

We can support Tiny Forests. However, they need a bit of a tailored approach, so do get in contact to discuss by emailing info@nhsforest.org

If you are applying for 250 trees or more, we have links with corporate volunteers who are keen to help out with your tree planting and maintenance. This may take a bit of time to facilitate so make sure to give us plenty of notice. 

This website uses cookies. You can find out more in our privacy policy.