Common questions asked by local tree champions.

We are contacted regularly by local tree champions who want to protect a local tree or trees. We’re a small team, so while we care passionately about local tree issues, we rely on tree champions like you to speak for trees at a local level. Here’s some guidance on some of the most common issues and questions we get approached with. If something isn’t covered here, please get in touch with us.

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. Our aims are:

  • To champion trees in everything we do.
  • To be the trusted voice of the tree sector.
  • To drive practical science and research into our treescape.
  • To enable dialogue and action in the sector, nationally and locally.
  • To encourage, inspire and persuade people of all ages and backgrounds to value and love trees.
  • To harness the energy, enthusiasm and expertise of our team, Tree Wardens and communities to plant, care for and protect trees and make a lasting impact on our world.
  • To lead and connect organisations and, together, persuade decision-makers, influence national policy and deliver local action.

If you would like a member of our core team to attend, please send your request to

It might not be possible for a member of our team to attend, our 6,000 volunteer Tree Wardens throughout the country are on hand to help and advise with all tree related issues. You can find contact details of your local coordinator here, and they will be able to put you in contact with your nearest Tree Warden who may be willing to give talks or offer advice.

Tree Planting and care

Anybody can help to plant trees, but being prepared is very important. There are a few things you need to consider: for example, you’ll need land to plant on and permission to do so from the landover. You’ll need to consider which species is most appropriate for the size and uses of the space, as well as ecological conditions such as the soil type and level of shade. You will also need to ensure that you have the resources to provide aftercare to the trees you plant in the tender early years after planting, otherwise the tree may not thrive.

While we can’t offer you personal advice on your specific planting plans, take a look at our Tree Planting Guide, which contains all the things you need to think about before you get started.

If you are looking for advice on a health or safety check, Our member organisation the Arboricultural Association has a list of suggested providers.

There isn’t necessarily one answer to this question. For example, fast-growing trees will store the most carbon quickly, long-lived trees can hold carbon for longer. In addition, new research states that hedgerows can help store carbon in their trees as well as in the soil underneath.

Excessive planting of any one tree species leaves the UK treescape more vulnerable to pests and diseases, as if a disease emerges that badly affects that tree species, it could wipe out millions of trees in one fell sweep. Ash trees in the UK, while a valued and important part of our landscape, are currently affected by ash dieback disease so it will be important to see how the ash population responds before choosing to plant more.

The most important thing is always to plant the right tree in the right place, planting a diverse range of trees and giving them the best chance to grow into mature trees which have the greatest capacity for carbon capture.

Thank you for standing up for your local trees! Perhaps you are concerned about a tree being unnecessarily felled, or believe a tree or trees needs maintenance. Our volunteer Tree Wardens are local tree champions who often lead or support local campaigns to protect a tree or trees, so the first thing to do is look up your nearest Tree Warden network. If there is a network near you, contact them directly to find out if they can support or guide you.

If you don’t have a Tree Warden network near you yet, we at HQ are a very small (but mighty!) charity and unfortunately cannot get involved in local campaigns, but we suggest you explore the following options:

  1. Contact a member of your local government: The first person to speak to would be the Tree or Arboricultural Officer(s) in your local council. They know their local treescape very well and can help you understand what may be happening with a given tree. If you can’t get in touch with them, or are not satisfied with their response, take it up with your local political representatives: the Leader of the Council, the Environment Portfolio Holder, and/or the councillors for your ward may take an interest in a local tree issue.
  2. Write to your MP: Another avenue is to contact your local MP by phone, email or letter. This is also valuable if you want your MP to represent you on a national issue affecting trees, for example by mentioning it in the House of Commons.
  3. Contact your local media: Your local paper or radio station may like to hear what you have to say, and can help you raise awareness of the issue with other residents. You can also contact local residents’ associations, gardeners’ groups or natural historic societies – anyone you think might have an interest in your issue.
  4. Ask your local authority to issue what is called a ‘Tree Preservation Order’ on a tree, which can give the tree some degree of protection: Your local authority can issue a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for specific trees. If a tree is protected by a TPO, the local authority’s consent is required before it may be felled or pruned. Trees located in Conservation Areas also have a degree of protection. To check whether a tree is protected, or to protect a tree, you should contact your local authority. For more information about TPOs visit the website.
  5. Become a local Tree Warden: Become a volunteer Tree Warden to take further action for your local trees. You will have the support of your network and have access to training, resources and be the first to hear about other ways to support and promote your local trees.

For more information take a look at this guide on Trees and the Law from our friends at the Arboricultural Association.  Our Member organisation The Woodland Trust, has some excellent guidance on campaigning to save local trees on their website here.

The Tree Council’s national Tree Care Campaign, runs from March to September and highlights the importance of better care for all trees, in order to ensure their survival and increase the number reaching maturity. Please visit our Tree Care Campaign pages for more information and downloads on tree care and survival. Please also take a look at the Forestry Commission’s Tree Care Guide.

The best species of tree to plant is dependent on many different factors, including growing conditions, position of the site, reasons for planting etc. The best thing to do is to look around your local area to see what species of trees are common and thriving. Then you can seek advice from your local nursery or garden centre.

We do not own any land to plant on, so our grants are the primary way we can help local tree planting.

We also sell a number of publications covering tree planting and organising events which can be found in our shop. If you are looking for more on hand help and advice, this can be obtained from our volunteer Tree Wardens.

The recent public debate about the value of planting trees as a carbon capture technology to help the UK achieve net zero emissions by 2050 has thrown up questions about the value of natural regeneration as a carbon capture tool, to be used alongside or, according to some sources, in the place of, tree planting.

Natural regeneration and tree planting are often positioned as opposing methods in establishing and protecting treescapes. However, both practices have their place and will be important is we are to greatly grow and protect the UK treescape, as well as contributing to efforts to achieve net zero carbon.

If you have concerns about trees on your own land or land that you manage, we suggest you consult a qualified tree professional. The Tree Council has guidance available on managing ash dieback disease for tree owners. If you are concerned about trees on someone else’s land, you should contact the landowner. If you’re not sure who that is, try asking your local council.

If you have a technical question about tree pests and diseases, you can contact our Science and Research Project Manager, Jessica Allan, or look on the Forest Research website.

The Tree Council is a member of the UK Squirrel Accord. We recommend you visit their website for advice and the latest news on UK squirrel management.

If you have a young tree that has grown too large for your garden, or you have lots of little oaks or other trees that you have grown from seed and now need a home, I’m sorry but we are unable to help directly as we do not own any land ourselves. You could try contacting wildlife organisations in your area, parks, public gardens, orchards or community allotments.

While The Tree Council is delighted to encourage people to gather seeds and grow their own trees, an important first step is to identify where the trees will eventually be planted. This is especially true with trees that can grow to be very big, e.g. oak. You must always have the permission of the landowner before planting a tree.

You may also be interested in a Facebook Group Tree Planting UK.


Tree Wardens plant, protect and promote their local trees. No training or experience in tree management is needed – just a love of trees and a few hours to spare. For more information, visit our Tree Warden page.

If you have any questions about our Tree Warden Scheme, you can e-mail our Tree Warden Coordinator; Sam Village.

It’s fantastic you’re interested in becoming a Tree Warden! On our Tree Warden page, there is a map that has contact details of all local coordinators who can get you started. If there are no local networks, contact the Tree Officer in your local authority to discuss the possibility of starting one; we can also help with setting up a new network.

We would love to support you to set up a Tree Warden Network in your area! The first port of call is to contact your local authority and ask them to help you set up a network. Traditionally, Tree Warden Networks were set up and managed by local authorities, coordinated by the Tree Officer, or someone in a similar role.  This person would be The Tree Council’s main contact point with the Tree Wardens in that region, and the council, as a member of The Tree Council, then had access to our support and resources.  However as budgets have been cut back, many local authorities sadly no longer have the resources to manage a volunteer scheme. As a result, some volunteer tree warden networks have set up independently from the council and become members of the Tree Council directly, still working with the local authority but at more of a distance. It can be a little tricky starting out as a new independent Tree Warden Network without the support of your local authority. It often helps if you can come under the ‘umbrella’ of another local Tree or environment group.

Unfortunately, as a small organisation with limited resource, at the moment we’re unable to lobby individual local authorities and encourage them to set up a Tree Warden network of their own. But please sign up to our email newsletter to get updates on new Tree Warden networks being formed.

For more information, visit our Tree Warden coordinator pages.