Free Tree Scheme 2022

Our Free Tree scheme is run in partnership with the National Forest Company.

Applications for the Free Tree Scheme 2022 are now closed.

If you have planted trees this year, please mark them on the national map for the Queen’s Green Canopy – a legacy of treeplanting to celebrate the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Free Tree Scheme Information

Details of the species offered in 2022 are below and the details for 2023 will be announced in Sept 2023

Applications will open in late Sept and run through to end of October 2023.

The Giveaway dates are usually in National Tree Week which runs from late November to early December.

We publish the dates when we re-open applications each Autumn as trees will only be available for collection on the stated dates.

Your household, organisation, school or community group must be based within the District of South Derbyshire to be eligible.

 All the trees are two years old and approximately 30-60cms (up to two feet) high.

We also supply information on how to plant and to look after them.

Information for the 2022 scheme can be downloaded from this page

Share your pictures

We have been running the Free Tree Scheme since 2000 and love to see any photographs of trees you have planted.

Upload them to our Environmental Education Project Facebook page or tweet them to @RoslistonEnvEd.

The 2022 species were:

CRAB APPLE  Malus sylvestris

The crab apple is a beautiful medium sized deciduous tree that grows to a height of around 5m. White flowers open in clusters during April- May, followed by small hard edible fruits during autumn. The apples are too sour to eat raw, but they can be made into jelly or added to other fruit when jam-making to improve the ‘set’. It is a good tree for wildlife, as bees and other insects visit the flowers and birds and small mammals will eat the fruit. 

CHERRY PLUM   Prunus cerasifera

The cherry plum is one of the first trees to flower, in mid-February. It can grow to 8m. The flowers are white, with five petals. The fruit is 2-3 cm in diameter and yellow or red, reaching maturity from mid-August to mid-September. It may be eaten fresh in some forms: some say it is sweet but others argue that it is sour! It is excellent for jam making. 

It produces root suckers so may become a ‘thicket’ of trees rather than a single tree (a bit like lilac). Young trees are often used as understocks (a root on to which another plant is grafted) for domestic plums. 

DOG ROSE   rosa canina

Dog roses are a familiar site in hedgerows, climbing up and between other trees and shrubs. Your Dog Rose will be most happy in a busy corner of your garden intermingling with the trees and plants around it. The flowers are simple roses with single petals usually white or shades of pink. They have a long flowering season, lasting from late spring to late summer. Bright red rosehips appear in the autumn and can last through the winter, so this is a shrub with colour for your garden most of the year. It is a prickly shrub so offers some protection to nesting birds. Suitable for all gardens

WILD SERVICE TREE   Sorbus torminalis

This is a fairly rare tree, often an indicator of ancient woodlands. Although it is a tall tree, growing up to 25 metres (so only suitable for large gardens) we have included it in the scheme this year as we’d like to see more of them in the National Forest area

Its common name is checkers, which we think comes from the distinctive checked patterning on the bark. The berries are brown and oval shaped and can be used in some woodland recipes

(Photos unless stated they are edited from our own stock, Sarah Simpkins, Cheviot Trees and the Woodland Trust.) 

Your new 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:

Crab Apple: 5-7 metres from buildings

Cherry Plum: 6-8 metres

Dog Rose: 3+ metres from buildings

Wild Service Tree: 15+ 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! Please tweet photos to @RoslistonEnvEd  or send them via Facebook: Environmental Education Project at Rosliston Forestry Centre

You can download this information as a PDF here (pdf, 234kb). The document also includes planting and tree care information


  • Crab  Apple
  • Cherry Plum
  • Dog Rose
  • Wild Service Tree