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Leading charities publish guidance for Covid-aware tree planting

The Tree Council

September 1, 2020

shovels propped up against a field fence


NOTE: This post was published in September 2020. The guidance linked to was updated in September 2021 to reflect changing guidelines.

A coalition of leading conservation organisations, led by national charity The Tree Council, has launched Covid-aware tree planting guidance to ensure volunteers won’t miss the winter planting season this year – which is crucial to help government achieve tree-planting targets.

Volunteers plant millions of trees each year in the UK, especially during The Tree Council’s annual National Tree Week, which marks the start of the winter tree-planting season.

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world (ranked 189 out of 218) and tree planting has been identified as a vital tool in tackling the dual threats of climate change and declining biodiversity.

However, the impact of coronavirus could prevent planting events from taking place with volunteers in the autumn. The guidance seeks to support organisations to carry out events in a way which manages the risk the virus presents to both organisers and volunteers.

The guidance provides advice for planning and running events, including:

  • how to adjust timings, volunteer numbers and spacing to allow volunteers to socially distance
  • how to train and support staff to manage volunteers in this new context
  • use of PPE and planting equipment (gloves, tools, mallets)
  • and how to support and inform volunteers before, during and after the event on the ways in which organisations plan to keep them safe

Sara Lom, CEO, The Tree Council said: “It has never been more important to plant and care for trees around the country, but events must be managed safely in light of coronavirus. This guidance will allow communities and volunteer organisations to organise tree planting events while managing the wellbeing of themselves and their volunteers, as well as the future health of our planet.”


Notes for editors

The guidance was produced by The Tree Council & Partners including:

Arboricultural Association
London Tree Officers Association
TCV (The Conservation Volunteers)
The Orchard Project
Woodland Trust

About The Tree Council

The Tree Council is a charity and umbrella body bringing everyone together with a shared mission to care for trees and our planet’s future. We inspire and empower organisations, government, communities and individuals with the knowledge and tools to create positive, lasting change at a national and local level.

The Tree Council coordinates a national force of volunteer Tree Wardens, who plant and care for trees in communities around the country. The Tree Warden Scheme is 30 years old in September 2020. National Tree Week, The Tree Council’s annual tree planting festival, will take place 28 November – 6 December 2020.

Media enquiries: holly.chetan-welsh@treecouncil.org.uk.

The statistic that the UK ranks 189 out of 218 for nature depletion comes from the State of Nature report 2016.


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