Update. The scheme has now closed for this year due to unprecedented demand which saw all 10,000 trees requested during a matter of hours.
Shropshire Council has launched its community tree scheme for 2020/21. It is getting quite late in the year so the scheme has been simplified. People and groups can apply for up to ten bundles, each of twenty trees. Four types of bundles are available: lowland woodland mix; upland woodland mix; wet woodland mix; and native hedgerow mix.
There is a provisional closing date for the scheme of 14th December 2020. However, applications are processed on a first come first served basis and but the scheme may close earlier if all the available trees are allocated.
The tree scheme is part of Shropshire Council’s ambition to plant a tree for every resident by 2050 – a minimum of 350,000 trees.
The council hoped to plant 12,500 trees this year but only 10,000 were available. I hope the officers managing the scheme will ramp that up as it will take until 2055 to plant 350,000 trees at this annual level. The feeling of Shropshire councillors when we discussed this was that 350,000 was not enough – though they baulked at my proposal to plant millions of trees to create a Marches National Forest.
Due to the restricted timescale available this year, the council is providing trees in multiples of prearranged bundles of 20, rather than offering applicants freedom of tree species choices and numbers. But I can’t see anything to stop people clubbing together to apply for bundles. Applications are capped at ten bundles, 200 trees. The trees are supplied as bare root transplants (30-40cm or 40-60cm high) with rabbit spirals and bamboo canes if needed.
The trees must not be planted for profit and should be in one of three locations:
- Along the roadside or visible from the roadside.
- A site accessible by footpath or visible from footpath or from a public view point.
- A site where planting will create, link or expand wildlife habitats and / or enhance landscape value.
Applicants must be prepared to show the location and planting details of their trees on an interactive map of Shropshire, to provide a permanent record which will grow each year. The council is hoping to be able to provide a facility to upload photographs.
The four mixes of tree bundles are:
- Lowland woodland mix: English oak (4), sessile oak (4), small-leaved lime (4), wild cherry (2), hazel (2), rowan (2), hawthorn (1) and crab apple (1).
- Upland woodland mix: sessile oak (10), silver birch (3), beech (2), hawthorn (2), rowan (2) and crab apple (1).
- Wet woodland mix: common alder (7), downy birch (4), crack willow (2), goat willow (2), aspen (2), osier (1), hazel (1) and guelder rose (1).
- Native hedgerow mix: hawthorn (7), field maple (4), blackthorn (3), hazel (3), dog rose (1), dogwood (1) and guelder rose (1).
Successful applicants must collect their trees directly from either one of two nurseries – John Holliday (formerly Potters Farm Tree Nursery) at Lower Hayton seven miles from Ludlow and Prees Heath Forest Nursery in the north of the county.