Six Top Ways to Plant Trees

On the eve of The Tree Conference in Glastonbury on Saturday 4 November, Suzi Martineau – organiser of the event – shares six top ways to plant trees and help avert climate change.

Suzi Martineau © Michael Mathias

On Saturday 4 November, The Tree Conference in Glastonbury will bring together leading tree scientists, tree and reforestation project leaders, climate change experts and artists to share cutting-edge research, visions and exciting new projects for re-greening our future.

Speakers at the event will include BBC explorer Bruce Parry, leading tree scientist Diana Beresford-Kroeger and Clare Dubois and Wendy Stephenson of TreeSisters. The day’s key talks and debates will be broadcast to a global audience via Livestream.

Mounting evidence shows that trees have a crucial role to play in sustaining our ecosystem’s future. In November 2015, the UN leader’s statement on Forests and Climate Change stated that ‘Reducing emissions from and enhancing removals through forests can reduce billions of tons of emissions per year and are essential to prevent catastrophic climate change’.

“The Tree Conference will be a unique networking platform to explore how the UK can give back to the world by tree planting,” says Suzi Martineau, organiser of the event. “This will be the first conference to give regular UK citizens and tree lovers the chance to feed into this debate and directly contribute to this movement to safeguard our forest cover, water and soil security for generations to come.”


Here are Suzi Martineau’s six top ways for planting trees and keeping them in the ground:


  1. Wildlife Corridors: Identifying areas where private gardens, wildlife reserves and farming land can all link up can be done by viewing the Wildlife Trust’s ‘Local Living Wildlife’ maps. Working with your local town or parish council to identify such corridors and planting to enhance and broaden them can be done via the fabulous Local Neighbourhood Plans. Councils and NGOs like the Woodland Trust and the Friends of the Earth Pollinator Corridors welcome active constituents to support their work and provide information on how to do it via their websites.


  1. Supporting UK Organisations’ Planting Strategies: Numerous UK environmental groups are already undertaking large-scale planting, such as the Woodland Trust, The Forestry Commission, and the Glastonbury Conservation Society.  Others like the RSPB, Wildlife Trust, FWAG and Friends of the Earth plant to create wildlife habitats. England’s Community Forests is the country’s biggest environmental regeneration initiative.  Most of these organisations are run on a charitable basis so you can contribute financially or go along to tree planting days.


  1. Create your own Small Holding or Local Orchards: Planting fruit and nut trees to create local orchards provides a vital source of food resilience in communities.  There are examples of permaculture, forest gardens and ‘planting by the moon’ (biodynamics) that completely reduce the need for harmful pesticides and fertilisers. In many local communities, people are already creating amazing small holdings, city farms and wine, cereal and vegetable growing projects successfully using these principals. (More info: The Soil Association and Permaculture Association).


  1. Support Agroforestry, Farming, the Forestry Sector & New Woodland Creation Grants: The UK government has recognised the need to increase forest cover to sequester CO2 and has committed to planting 11 million trees in the next two years. DEFRA is working with the Agroforestry Group to support farmland productivity and preserve soil sub-structure, preventing fertiliser run-off of into waterways. The Woodland Trust website shares useful short films about how farmers can adopt these techniques. If you live in a rural community, talk to people who work the land about ways that are working successfully. And if you can plant your own woodland, new grants, practical support and saplings are provided by Natural England, the Forestry Commission and The Woodland Trust.


  1. Understanding the Tropics and Carbon Sequestration: Significant focus is being given to the equatorial belt where trees planted sequester more carbon and desertification depletes communities. Projects by global reforestation charity TreeSisters and others also support local communities to reduce soil degradation, desertification, river and water loss and enable planting to create food sources, agricultural resilience and enhance community knowledge.  Donating monthly contributes to the air you breathe. Visiting one could change your life.


  1. Planting along Waterways and on behalf of the Oceans: Reforestation on the land supports the oceans because carbon sequestered by oceans is creating an acidification that hugely threatens worldwide fish stocks. And if you want healthy fish stocks, forests need access to waterways. For example, Willow varieties along streams and rivers release water soluble salicylic acid into waterways and forest floor mulch (running off into rivers) which feed plankton out at sea.  Explore the pathways from trees to water. Think what can be done locally to you.


The Tree Conference in Glastonbury on Saturday 4 November (to be broadcast via Livestream to a global audience). It will be a networking event for people who love trees, inviting citizen-led initiatives for reforestation. The event will also highlight the vital role of trees for people and planetary wellbeing.


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