Planting a Woodland

Whether you have purchased a plot of land and want to turn it into your dream getaway or it is a community tree planting project there are a number of considerations to make it all happen

The Land

Land should be assessed as to the suitability for growing trees. If you are yet to buy the land - you are fortunate and can select a site, whereas it may be a case of making the most of what you have.

Woodland trees only have basic requirements in terms of soil fertility and human input. Young trees may be subject to frost damage - if the land is in a frost pocket these are best avoided for begnning a new woodland. If the ground is very wet this is generally only suitable for alder and willow trees. Equally a very dry site will limit tree growth.

Which Trees To Plant

Which trees to plant will be decided by

  • The reasons for planting a woodland
  • The nature and feel you would like the woodland to have

The exact soil type and climate may also dictate the exact choice to those that will do well on a particular site if the wood is to thrive. If there are local woods with a similar setting you may get ideas for what grows well and what suits your project.

If you are wanting to attract wildlife try and stick to trees that are not only native to the UK, but also the local area - local seeds are even better.

If the woodland is to be felled (subject to a felling licence) you may wish to make more of the wood - consider what the wood could be used for - quick-grown timber, coppice for craft materials, coppice for fuel and so on.

Ash is just one example of tree with a range of qualities - it can be grown for timber or coppiced for craft material and firewood. Non-native trees, including conifers, may be quite appropriate when they can fulfil a specific function which could not be done by natives on that site.

Adding a few other trees such as crab apples or brambles will not only provide for nature, but add to the sights and smells.

A riot of diversity is appropriate for woods where amenity or nature conservation is the main aim, but in a productive wood a simpler mix is easier to manage. Two or three main species plus 5-20% of minor ones may be a good compromise for a productive plantation. The main species must be compatible with each other in terms of speed of growth, shading and shade tolerance.

The mixture of trees may not be uniform over the whole wood. Even the smallest sites may have differences in soil or microclimate between one part and another. Also, you may have multiple aims in planting the wood, and these may be best met by having a productive plantation in one part and a more naturalistic planting in another.

On some sites it may not be necessary to plant at all. Where there are seed parents nearby and the ground vegetation is sufficiently open, natural regeneration may be equally successful. But it may not make a very productive wood unless the seed parents are the right species.


There are generous grants for planting trees available from the Forestry Commission. The restrictions put in place may lay your plans to rest however - the grants often exclude edible species, favouring high forest over coppice.

Above all enjoy your woodland. Keep in mind it will be around for many decades to come and with the right planning, planting and nurture you will have a phenomenal place to enjoy.

Land for Sale from Vantage Land

Vantage Land spealises in freehold land for sale across England. We sell land from 2 acres in size as a tangible asset that could be used for paddocks, farming or recreational purposes.

Call Vantage Land on 01727 701642

Related Articles:

Woodland for Sale

Managing a Woodland

The Wood for the Trees

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