Community tree giveaways

How to get free trees

Following the success of last year, which saw 1850 trees adopted by residents of Central Bedfordshire, our tree giveaway is back with a twist! Our grant scheme is available for people to set up their own tree giveaways within their community, allowing residents, community groups, and businesses to access free garden trees and hedging for their private land.

As part of our Sustainability Plan (PDF), the tree giveaway will support our commitment to plant 1 million trees by 2030. By taking part, residents will help to support local wildlife, increase biodiversity, and improve air quality, making our county greener, and more resilient to climate change.

How it works

We are actively encouraging local organisations, community groups, businesses, charities and residents’ associations to host their own tree giveaways by applying to our Community Tree Planting Grant.

Your giveaway day must take place within a few days of your free trees being delivered. This could take place at a village hall, community centre, local business or among your neighbours. Try advertising your tree giveaway using local social media sites, village bulletins, noticeboards, and neighbourhood e-newsletters. 

Please submit an application using the Community Tree Planting Grant by 31 January to fund your free tree giveaway and access support and guidance. Once you have submitted your application, a member of our Sustainability Team will be in touch to make further arrangements.

Where to plant your tree(s)

It is incredibly important that the right tree is planted in the right place and for the right reason. By claiming free trees, residents are committing to plant them in a suitable location, with consideration for their immediate environment and size when fully grown. Applicants to the fund must show consideration for land ownership permission, land designations and archaeology.

  • residents can plant on their own private land but must seek permission from the landowner should they wish to plant elsewhere
  • trees must not be planted on designated sites, or scheduled monuments
  • trees must not be planted on highways verges

Winter is the best time of year for planting trees as whips will be dormant. To give them the best chance of survival, plant your tree(s) within a few days of collection.

Our tree planting guidance offers comprehensive advice for anyone looking to plant trees, including checking site suitability, tree species guidance, planting and aftercare, and where further support is available. 

Trees will be the responsibility of the landowner whose land they are planted on. This includes helping the trees to establish with watering, weeding and mulching, and longer-term maintenance.

Caring for your tree(s)

Your new tree(s) will require care for a few years after planting to support establishment. This will involve weeding around the base of trees and ensuring they have enough water, especially during hot, dry periods of weather. Collected rainwater or recycled grey water (such as washing up water, shower, and bath water) is perfect for this and helps to reduce household water consumption.

We strongly recommend using mulch around the base of your tree, which will help to supress weeds, lock in soil moisture, protect roots from extreme temperatures, and provide additional nutrients for your growing tree. The best types of mulch include garden compost, wood chippings, leaf litter and well-rotted manure.