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  • Writer's pictureWatlington Climate Action Group

GREEN PLAN : Tree Foster Care Scheme

One of the drivers for the Watlington Climate Action Group and the Green Plan is to increase tree cover in the parish to improve biodiversity and increase natural carbon sequestration. But planting trees is not something to be taken lightly and there are many things to consider before doing so. What species should be planted? Where should they be planted? What size should they be? How will they be looked after? Where should they be sourced from? These are just a few of the things to consider.

The Green Plan team has been mapping the parish to find out more about local habitats and to start to identify possible sites for planting trees. However, we also need to bear in mind that other semi-natural habitats such as chalk grassland and wet meadows are of immense value both for biodiversity and carbon sequestration. We must take care to plant “the right tree in the right place”.

The national drive to plant trees has led to some tree nurseries struggling to cope with demand for young trees and could increase the importing of trees and thus the possibility of introducing more tree diseases. Aware that it is better to plant locally sourced trees, members of the Green Plan group have suggested a Tree Foster Care Scheme to encourage volunteers to look after locally grown trees. This idea was promoted at the recent Green Plan Art Trail; thank you so much to all those people who signed up for more information about the scheme, we are delighted there is so much interest!

What will the scheme involve?

Do you ever see young trees coming up in your garden? You might pull them up and put them in the compost bin, as you probably don’t want them in your flower beds. But these local native seedlings could grow to become precious trees providing valuable homes for wildlife

We are looking for tree donors and foster carers to look after these young trees.

Tree donors

  • We are interested in native tree seedlings, for example hazel, oak (see photos of a germinating acorn transforming into an oak seedling, grown and photographed by Andrea Brewer), ash, beech, hawthorn, field maple, to name but a few.

  • If you have any wild tree seedlings or small saplings, please dig them up carefully without damaging the roots and plant them in a pot of soil or peat-free compost.

  • You may be happy to be a “foster carer” and look after your tree seedlings until needed, but if you don’t have space in your garden we will be able to match you with another local volunteer.

Tree fostering volunteers

  • We are looking for volunteers to tend tree seedlings and small saplings for a year or two until they are large enough to plant and a suitable site has been found in the parish.

  • The young trees will need to be kept in a sheltered spot with plenty of light and watered when necessary.

  • We would like to involve volunteers in planting the trees, which would take place in the winter months, usually in November and December.

  • There will also be a chance to be involved in the ongoing care of the trees until they are established; this might involve weeding around trees and watering in dry periods.

For further information please drop an email to with your contact details.

We aim to set up a What’s App group to keep in touch about the scheme.

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