Community Tree Planting Guide

This event promotes local environmental opportunities and education on climate action. Think global, act local. It uses practical local action to plant trees with the opportunity to attract new active volunteers.

Community tree planting

Suggested length of session  1.5 to 3 hrs (adaptable to your needs)
Audience Entire local community, especially physically capable
Maximum number of people  6+ (depends on site, tools and saplings available)
Delivery location  Outside, in person
Resources Free trees and advice from the Woodland Trust here

Community Woodlands Association in Scotland here  

Aims of the event

Promote local environmental opportunities and education on climate action. Think global, act local. Practical local action to plant trees with the opportunity to attract new active volunteers both individuals and groups.



Create local woodlands, plant underused greenspaces with native trees or fruit trees as part of a practical local action both combat and mitigate climate change.  

In the process increasing the tree cover has benefits for wildlife and biodiversity, for health and wellbeing, and for civic enhancement. 


What to do before

The tree planting season is best in the dormant winter months from November until March so requires hardier volunteers. If a suitable greenspace or corridor is identified, there are now various sources of free native saplings (in convenient packs) from several sources, or you can grow your own from tree seeds. 

All those involved can take pleasure and satisfaction from planting saplings and watching them grow. 

Several months in advance

  • identify appropriate sites
  • obtain permission if required, 
  • plan how many saplings or fruit tree seedlings are needed. For native trees, approach free providers such as Woodland Trust when their schemes open.
  • A mix of deciduous and coniferous native saplings work best. 
  • A minimum of six fruit trees is required to create an orchard. Fruit trees usually need to be purchased.
  • Plan your maintenance and who is going to do it. Depending on the site chosen, it may require limited maintenance especially in the first 2-3 years such as clearing some competing grass or weeds (and possibly using mulch mats), ensuring support and protection is in place.

Tools required

  • strong spades,
  • ideally tree spears/trenchers,
  • dependant on location spiral guards or tubes, vane or stake, tie
  • mallet for stakes,
  • reusable work gloves are also essential since the weather may be cold.

Other considerations:

  • The actual planting season (except for potted saplings) is November until March so weather can pose a challenge and may require late rescheduling of planned sessions.
  • Advertise well on websites, print (press, noticeboards), social media, via other organisations and best of all face-to-face.
  • Ensure existing volunteers and contacts are well-informed (by word-of-mouth or email).  
  • Ensure first aider and kit is available.
  • A sign-up method, such as Eventbrite to control numbers. Use reminders, if required about event details.
  • Set up a feedback method based on your aims, such as an online form or survey.  Emailed forms also work but the online platforms collate information for you so are easier.


What to do during

Organisers should be on site 20 minutes before planting starts to lay out tools, and flag or banner to indicate the action.

Once volunteers are assembled, a short orientation is required on:

  • health and safety (careful use of tools, slip and thorn risks),
  • explaining the task ahead 
  • if you have large numbers divide into smaller groups. Ideally paired one to dig, the other to plant and add support protection. You can then alternate this.


What to do after

Count the number of trees planted.  If possible, list the varieties and approximate location of planting.

Print photos and thanks on social media and other channels, citing number of trees planted collected and volunteers participating.   

A brief report may be required to the provider of saplings.

Implement the maintenance plan. 



Here are some great tips on how to run the session from CLEAR. 

  • Tree planting is weather dependent – if the weather turns bad, you might have to  cancel or adapt the event plan.
  • Since planting is done in the colder months, a hot drink break is advisable during a 3-hour session.
  • Mark smaller tools such as mallet but even spades with hi-vis tape or paint. They can easily be lost in waste ground or grass
  • Tree planting is a very rewarding but also rather demanding task. Volunteers should be proud of their achievement in completing one or more sessions.  
  • Volunteers should be encouraged to check by the growth of the sapling in years to come


Any other information

If you have any questions about this event guide please contact 


Please do not hesitate to contact us to request this document in large print or other formats.


By CLEAR Buckhaven



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