For the 24/25 planting season NHS Forest will again be offering fully funded tree bundles for NHS sites in England. The bundles contain a mix of different species that have been designed to provide a variety of benefits, such as attracting wildlife or providing spring colour. Ranging in size from 10 to 240 trees, applicants may request as many of each type as required, subject to stock availability (and a few bundle-specific restrictions detailed below). 

Bundles of cell grown trees. All rights reserved.
Examples of what your cell grown trees might look like when they first arrive. Photo: Cheviot Trees. All rights reserved.

The trees in our bundles are cell grown seedlings which, while initially small, will with care and maintenance rapidly establish and develop into a beautiful asset for your healthcare site. Young trees can be vulnerable to damage from browsing by animals, so we’ll also supply a biodegradable spiral guard (60cm) and bamboo cane for each tree. The spirals will withstand rabbits and other small mammals, but more substantial protection may be required if there is a significant deer presence on site.

Considering planting more than 500 trees? In addition to the bundles, for larger-scale planting NHS Forest can provide bespoke advice and arrange a customised order, with species and planting sundries tailored to your site and planting objectives and comprising up to 20% larger trees. Visit the woodland creation page for more information. 

We also have an orchard planting scheme available.

Extra Small bundles (10 trees) 

Mini Grove is a single species bundle with a choice of six native trees – alder, field maple, hazel, oak, rowan or silver birch. Our smallest bundle, Mini Grove is ideal for small healthcare settings where planting space is limited. 

Please note that due to high fulfilment costs we are limiting requests for the Mini Grove bundles to two per site; applicants requiring more trees can apply for the small Grove bundles in multiples of thirty. 

Small bundles (30 trees) 

Grove is a single species bundle with a choice of six native trees – alder, field maple, hazel, oak, rowan or silver birch; the bundles can be requested individually – for example, to plant a small copse, create a walkway border, or integrate larger trees into a newly planted hedgerow – or planted in combination with other bundles. 

Urban is our smallest mixed bundle, ideal for built up areas with limited space for planting, or to supplement areas with existing tree cover. Each bundle contains crab apple, hazel and rowan, all smaller trees that will tolerate compact soils and thrive in urban settings, both planted together or dispersed. 

Medium bundles (60 trees) 

Shelterbelt is a linear planting mix developed as a tree-centric alternative (and / or supplement) to traditional hedging. Comprising alder, goat willow, hawthorn, rowan and silver birch, these bundles can be used to create bands of tree cover for shade and shelter, acoustic and visual screening, or to mitigate against soil erosion. 

Wellbeing bundles are designed to facilitate the development of green spaces that support mental and physical health. Each bundle contains crab apple, hazel, rowan, silver birch and wild cherry, mid-sized trees selected for their visual qualities and intended as a focus point in natural therapeutic environments. 

Large bundles (120 trees) 

Blossom & Colour is the most visually focused bundle type, made up of species characterised by their blossoms, berries and autumnal leaves. A mix of crab apple, hawthorn, hazel, rowan and wild cherry, the trees can be used singularly to add colour to open spaces or planted together to establish a diverse native copse. 

Nature bundles are ideal for establishing or expanding green spaces to benefit environmental and community health. Alder, blackthorn, dogwood, goat willow and hawthorn are compact species but with the potential to support a high level of biodiversity when used to create verdant habitat for birds and animals. 

Wild Food bundles will appeal to those with a taste for foraging. Featuring a selection of native fruit and nut species (which could be used to produce traditional chutneys and preserves), this combination of blackthorn, crab apple, elder, hazel and rowan is perfect for forest gardens and other productive spaces. 

Extra Large bundles (240 trees) 

New for the 24/25 planting season, Copse in a Box is our largest tree bundle and contains everything you need to plant approximately 0.1 hectare / 0.25 acre of mixed native woodland (equivalent to about 5 single tennis courts). We have three variations available of which at least one should be suitable for most areas of England: 

Lowland for land less than 250m above sea level; a mix of oak, field maple, hawthorn, hazel and silver birch.  

Upland for land more than 250m above sea level; a mix of alder, crab apple, hawthorn, rowan and silver birch.  

Wetland for very damp, rough or low-lying areas; a mix of alder, dogwood, elder, goat willow and silver birch. 

Hedge bundles (60 trees) 

Hedge bundles contain a mix of shrubby species: crab apple, dogwood, hawthorn, hazel and spindle. As the name suggests, they are perfect for creating or gapping up hedgerows as borders, for screening, or to boost ecological connectivity. Each bundle can be used to plant 10 m of double row hedging. 

N.B. NHS Forest recommends planting groups of trees wherever practicable to gain the benefits of increased canopy cover (see here for more on why we think trees are often the best option for healthcare settings); but for locations where planting trees isn’t possible or appropriate we will endeavour to facilitate as much hedgerow planting as we can within the scope of our grant. 

With a view to extend this offer to as many applicants as possible, we are limiting requests for Hedge bundles to two per site. Applicants can request extra bundles, but we will prioritise expressions of interest that comprise less than 25% hedging overall; or for larger projects (≥ 500 trees) up to 40% hedging. Applications exceeding these thresholds will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Did you know that NHS Forest offers linear tree planting bundles as a possible alternative to hedging? This alternative has certain advantages over a traditional hedge as it offers tree cover for shade and shelter, acoustic and visual screening and can help to mitigate against soil erosion. See above for details of our Shelterbelt bundle. 


Our tree bundles are made up of native trees and shrubs, all grown in the UK from domestic seed. The mixes have been selected to deliver specific thematic outcomes that will benefit patients, staff, and wildlife, and comprising generalist species that should thrive in most locations.  

Trees have distinct characteristics, and a number of factors will determine whether a species is suitable for a given location. The following is intended as a brief introduction to the trees used in our bundles, but please get in touch if you are unsure about whether a particular tree or mix will be appropriate for your site. 

Alder. All rights reserved.
Alder. All rights reserved.

Alder (Alnus glutinosa

Size: 20 metres at maturity  

Closely associated with wetland environments, this water tolerant tree has leathery, heart-shaped leaves and catkins which appear between in early spring; the female catkins eventually turn into a cone containing seed. 

Blackthorn. All rights reserved.
Blackthorn. All rights reserved.

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa

Size: 6 – 7 metres at maturity  

A dense shrubby tree with toothed leaves and creamy-coloured flowers and blossoms in bloom from around March. The flowers develop into blue-black fruits called sloes which can be used to flavour gin. 

Crab apple. All rights reserved.
Crab apple. All rights reserved.

Crab apple (Malus sylvestris

Size: 7 – 9 metres at maturity  

Britain’s native wild apple, this compact often gnarled tree has toothed oval leaves and sweetly scented blossoms. The fruit is often used to make jelly, or is an excellent source of food for wildlife, especially birds.  

Dogwood. All rights reserved.
Dogwood. All rights reserved.

Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea

Size: 10 metres at maturity  

A small broadleaf shrub with oval leaves and creamy white flowers that bloom into spring before developing as small black ‘dogberries’. Dogwood is noted for autumn colour, its leaves turning crimson before they fall.  

Elder. All rights reserved.
Elder. All rights reserved.

Elder (Sambucus nigra

Size: +10 metres at maturity  

A mid-sized tree with grey-brown bark and feathery toothed leaves. Fragrant creamy flowers emerge from May and develop into small purple berries. Both flowers and berries are edible when cooked. 

Field Maple. All rights reserved.
Field Maple. All rights reserved.

Field maple (Acer campestre

Size: 15 – 20 metres at maturity  

A long-lived slender tree with characteristic round lobed leaves. Clusters of small, yellow-green cup-shaped flowers emerge in the spring, developing into large, winged fruits (sometimes known as ‘helicopters’). 

Goat Willow. All rights reserved.
Goat Willow. All rights reserved.

Goat willow (Salix caprea

Size: 6 – 10 metres at maturity  

A small, scrub-forming tree with oval leaves and soft pawlike catkins, goat willow is commonly found in damp areas, woodlands and hedgerows. Salicin, the precursor to aspirin, is derived from (and named for) willow bark. 

Hawthorn. All rights reserved.
Hawthorn. All rights reserved.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna

Size: 15 metres at maturity  

A dense thorny shrub with toothed leaves, white flowers and red fruits known as ‘haws’. Often associated with hedging, hawthorn can also develop as a small tree in its own right and will support a wide range of wildlife. 

Hazel. All rights reserved.
Hazel. All rights reserved.

Hazel (Corylus avellana

Size: + 10 metres at maturity  

Commonly coppiced for timber, hazel is a mid-sized tree with yellow catkins and small bud-like flowers; when pollinated it will develop oval fruits and ultimately edible hazelnuts enjoyed by humans and small mammals alike.

Oak. All rights reserved.
Oak. All rights reserved.

Oak (Quercus robur

Size: 40 metres at maturity 

A large and quintessentially English tree with distinctive lobed leaves and acorns. Long-lived and associated with royalty and mythology, mature oaks play host to more wildlife than any other UK native tree.

Rowan. All rights reserved.
Rowan. All rights reserved.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia

Size: 8 – 15 metres at maturity  

The NHS Forest team’s favourite tree, rowan is small and hardy with distinctive serrated leaflets and clusters of white flowers that develop into attractive bright red berries, a rich source of autumnal food for wild birds.  

Silver birch. All rights reserved.
Silver birch. All rights reserved.

Silver birch (Betula pendula

Size: 20 – 30 metres at maturity  

A mid-sized, pale white tree with small triangular leaves and catkins similar to its cousin, downy birch. Mature trees have light, open canopies, making silver birch ideal as a garden tree or part of a mixed native woodland. 

Spindle. All rights reserved.
Spindle. All rights reserved.

Spindle (Euonymus europaeus

Size: + 6 metres at maturity 

A small flowering tree with colourful autumnal leaves and vibrant pink and orange fruits. Although toxic to humans, spindle has historically been used for medicinal purposes and remains a haven for biodiversity.

Wild cherry. All rights reserved.
Wild cherry. All rights reserved.

Wild cherry (Prunus avium

Size: 18 – 25 metres at maturity  

A popular ornamental tree, wild cherry has shiny reddish-brown bark and toothed oval leaves. But it is the white blossoms and red fruits that are the true stars of the show, both aesthetically and for insects and birdlife. 


30 trees can be used to create a small copse covering about 200 m2. As a rule of thumb planting with between 2.5 and 3-metre spacing works well for assemblages of trees, as this leaves enough space for establishment and access for maintenance, while not putting the trees in competition with each other for water and light.   

For small clusters of trees it is possible to increase the density up to 2 metre spacing, or as low as 5 metres for a more ‘open’ tree space. While it is possible to plant individually, the trees are less than 1 metre tall as supplied and can look a bit lost planted over large areas. Thought should be given to how to demarcate single trees until large enough to be obvious as intentional planting to grounds maintenance staff – particularly on areas of grass.  

For hedging, 5 plants per metre works well to create a double staggered row hedge (optimal for wildlife), leaving at least 40 cm between rows. 


If you’re ready to apply for your free trees, fill in our expression of interest form and we will be in touch with next steps.

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