Free Tree Scheme

Open for applications 9am Monday 4 October until midnight on Sunday 31 October 2021

Our Free Tree scheme is run in partnership with the National Forest Company. This year we are joining the nation ‘Queen’s Green Canopy Project’ to make our scheme extra special so that you can all ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’

Our trees are red, white and blue Jubilee themed to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Queen acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 and the official celebrations are in June 2022. As the tree planting season is during the winter we are starting our celebrations early!

This year’s species are Common Dogwood, Elder, Wayfaring Tree and Whitebeam. All the trees have white flowers and red or dark blue berries. Some also have red stems and/ or red autumn colours.

Importantly… they are all suitable for your gardens and they all attract wildlife too. As in previous years, you can apply for two trees per household, or 10 if you are applying on behalf of a school or community group. You can apply between 9am Monday 4 October and midnight on Sunday 31 October.

Your household or community group must be based within the District of South Derbyshire. If not, contact your own authority (where you pay your Council Tax) to find out if they are running a scheme this year.

All the trees are two years old and approximately 30-50cms high. We also supply information on how to plant and to look after them which you can download below from the related documents section.

Our ‘giveaway’ dates and venues are:

  • Thursday, 2 Dec: 10-2pm Rosliston Forestry Centre, Burton Rd, Rosliston Swadlincote DE12 8JX, (Parking £1.50/£4 - no need to pay to park if you are just collecting your trees)
  • Saturday, 4 Dec: 10-1pm Swadlincote Market The Delph, Swadlincote DE11 0AG
  • Saturday, 4 Dec: 2.30-4pm: Whistlewood Common, Melbourne Common, DE73 8DH
    • Please bring a carrier bag for your trees - we will label them and put them in the bag for you.
    • Please look out for and follow any signage / other instructions.
    • Please be prepared to queue at busy times.

Please note: We will be planning our events carefully to take into account minimising the risk of any covid spread. Contact us if you need further details in advance.

Trees will be available on these dates ONLY, so please check you are available on one of those dates or find someone to collect on your behalf before you apply. Please note: when you order your trees you should get a confirmation email within a few minutes. Unless there is a problem with your order, or we run out of trees, this will be the only communication you receive from us.

If you do not receive the confirmation email please email us directly: and we will check the database to make sure we have received your order.



Information about this year’s trees:

COMMON DOGWOOD  Cornus sanguinea

Dogwood is a popular garden shrub because of its red stems – providing colour all year round. It has white flowers growing in clusters in the spring which are popular with insects and birds enjoy the blue-black berries in the autumn and winter. You can let it spread and grow up to 10m or keep it trimmed to a small bush shape. The red stems go grey as they grow and age. It tends to have a number of stems growing from the base so provides good cover for wildlife in your garden.

ELDER Sambucus nigra

The Elderberry is a native deciduous shrub with graceful fern- like perfumed foliage, and upright stems with fine green leaves. If left it will become a tree of up to 15metres high but is equally happy if trimmed into a shrub shape and often found in hedges. It produces clusters of creamy white flower in June and July; followed by large bunches of elderberries, which start off green, become red and turn blue-black when ripe. The berries are high in Vitamin C and both the flowers and ripe berries are used in cordial and wine making - but avoid the berries as these are poisonous.Its leaves turn red in the autumn. Twigs are popular for D.I.Y whistle making as the white pith can be pushed out to make a hollow tube.

WAYFARING TREE Viburnum lantana

The wayfaring tree is a small tree or shrub which is happy kept trimmed at 1-3 metres high but will grow up to 5 metres. It’s often found growing alongside paths – which is why it gets its name. It has large clusters of white flowers in late spring and glowing red berries which turn darker as they ripen to blue-black in autumn. Insects including butterflies love the flowers and birds will enjoy the berries. At the end of the year the leaves turn a beautiful red so the wayfaring tree has colourful interest from spring through to autumn.

WHITEBEAM Sorbus aria

Whitebeam is an attractive tree and good for wildlife. White flowers appear in May or June, followed by small bright red fruits, which birds enjoy, in September. The undersides of the leaves are covered in fine hairs that make them appear silvery-white as they flutter in the breeze, and the leaves turn golden in autumn. It’s a tree full of colour, great for celebrations! Although Whitebeam is a native tree it does not grow naturally in this area (it prefers chalky soils) and it will not survive in waterlogged soil. Apart from that it is an undemanding tree which will grow in exposed, windy and dry conditions

Photos: see below gallery. Edited from our own stock, Cheviot Trees and the Woodland Trust.

All the trees are two years old and approximately 30-50cm high. Treat them gently, as rough handling or being dropped can shock the roots, and it will take the trees longer to get established.

When you get your trees home, store them somewhere cool, outside. Do not let the roots dry out, so keep them covered. They should be planted within a couple of weeks of receiving them.  If you need to store them for longer then give them a temporary home in a pot and remember to transplant them during the dormant season (Dec to March).

If you have a small garden or patio you can put each in a large pot permanently. The size of the pot will determine how big the tree gets, as once the roots have filled the pot the tree will stop growing. If you put your pot over soil, the roots will grow down through holes at the bottom of the pot into the ground so do be careful!

General planting advice:

  • If planting directly into the ground, check distance from your own and your neighbour’s property
  • Make sure your hole is big enough for all the roots to fit in comfortably
  • Once planted, press the soil down firmly around the stem, making sure the roots are fully covered but that all of the stem is above the soil level
  • If the soil is dry, water the tree when you have planted it.

For the first couple of years:

  • Weed carefully around the base of the tree
  • Water the tree during long spells of warm dry weather

Safe Planting distances (or put the tree in a large pot!)

Remember your neighbour’s property too, when you plant! Safe planting distances depend on the depth of your foundations and the type of soil. Shallow foundations eg for conservatories and clay soil require the greatest minimum planting distance, making sure the tree is as far from a building as it will eventually grow in height. If your foundations are deeper than 1m, or if you intend to prune the tree to restrict its height, you can plant closer to buildings than the recommended minimum distances.

Recommended minimum planting distance from buildings:

  • Common Dogwood: 3+ metres from buildings.
  • Elder: 3+ metres
  • Whitebeam: 7.5-10 metres from buildings
  • Wayfaring Tree: 3+ metres from buildings

OR as close as you want if you plant them in a large pot on a paved area.

We’d love to know how you get on with your trees!  Upload them to our Environmental Education Project Facebook page or tweet them to @RoslistonEnvEd and use the hashtag #JubileeTrees

Source for information and images: Cheviot Trees, Woodgrow Horticulture Limited, the Woodland Trust and other advisory websites.


  • COMMON DOGWOOD Cornus sanguinea
  • ELDER Sambucus nigra
  • WAYFARING TREE Viburnum lantana
  • WHITEBEAM Sorbus aria