How can you plant trees?
12 Minute Read
Planting trees is one of the biggest steps to help heal the planet and reverse climate change. While planting one or two in your garden will help the wildlife local to our garden, and is a great first step, we need many, many more trees to be planted around the world if we’re to make the biggest impact. That’s why in this post, we’re looking at some of the ways you can plant trees, both at home, by donating time, donating money, as well as making a small change to the way you search online.
Can I get paid to plant trees on my land?
While it isn’t likely that you’ll get paid to plant a single tree, or even several, in your garden (although the Welsh Government has been giving away free trees!) if you have a farm or private land, there are a range of funding and schemes that you can access to help you create woodlands. create woodlands. Check out the Woodland Trust, the Woodland Creation Campaign, as well as further information from the UK Government. Just this week, new funding has been announced for trees to be planted in communities across the UK in honour of the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth – so there are almost always ways you can get funding for planting trees.
How much does it cost to plant an acre of trees in the UK?
It depends on what type of trees you’re planting, and if you’re paying for labour to help you plant them or not. But whips cost between 20p to 60p, and the standard planting density for trees is 800 per acre – which means it is around £500 per acre to plant trees. Once your trees are planted, you’ll need to decide how much management you want to do, but that can be almost nothing, since nature will take over! How soon before it feels like a woodland, you might wonder? Well, again it depends on which type of trees you plant, and how big the whips were when you planted them. But once they get above head height, the space will start to feel like a forest. With some species, such as willow, that can be as little as a year!
How can I plant trees if I don’t have space, or a garden?
If planting trees in your garden isn’t an option, or you don’t have space to plant as many trees as you would like, then we’ve got good news for you – you can still plant trees! If you have funds to spare, there are absolutely loads of different initiatives and charities that you can donate to, either on a one-off, or an ongoing basis. The One Tree Planted initiative is the one that we chose to partner with, but you can choose to donate to one of the many others too.
For those of us that have time to donate, volunteering with organisations such as the Woodland Trust, Forestry England, and the Land Trust can be a way to plant trees, as well as helping them to achieve other great things too. There are organisations like these in many countries around the world, so if you’re outside the UK, a quick search will help you to find where to donate your time.
What if I can't afford to donate, and can't volunteer?
We get it – whether it is because you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have time in your schedule, or you can’t physically do the work of planting trees, we’ve got another option for you. This will allow you to be able to plant trees with only a tiny change to your life! Download the Ecosia toolbar, and use it for your searches online.
Ecosia is a search engine (like Google) that uses the ad revenue from whatever you search for and click on, to plant trees. Basically, when you click on a link that has been paid for, the money that would have been paid for you clicking on that link gets passed to Ecosia, and they then use that for planting projects.
The best part? You get exactly the same search results that you’d get if you’d gone to Google, and you don’t have to do anything else apart from using Ecosia for searching online.
How to reduce the impact of cutting trees down
Unfortunately, the properties that wood has – being tough, strong, and durable – means that as a race, we’re going to keep using trees. However, the good thing is that trees can be grown again. While trees that we’ve planted are growing, there are steps we can take to reduce the impact of our use of wood. Most of us are aware of most of these and we’re already doing them. These include using less paper and choosing recycled when we do, recycling paper and cardboard with household recycling, buying recycled products where possible, and not burning firewood excessively. These things are all tiny steps that we can do, and of course, when there is a need to buy new furniture and so on, to buy from sustainable businesses like ours.
What we’re doing to reduce our impact on the environment
We’re very conscious of the fact that our business depends on cutting trees down – and we take every possible step we can to reduce the impact of what we do. You can read more about our sustainability promise here, but from the very start of launching the business, the environment has been at the very heart of everything we’ve been doing here at Ben Simpson Furniture. A few of the steps we’ve taken include:
✅ We're creating strong products that will last – this reduces the need for our customers to replace items as quickly – thereby also reducing the demand for new materials.
✅ We source our timber responsibly – we work with pine because it is fast growing, as well as strong, but we go one step further. We source our timber from certified and sustainably managed Northern Scandinavian Pine forests, and those forests plant four trees for each one that is cut down. Not only that, but when the trees have been removed, that land isn’t harvested again for 30 years, which gives the local ecosystem time to recover.
✅ We're reducing, reusing and recycling – wherever possible, we take steps to make our business more sustainable – in addition to the typical recycling activity you’d expect from any and all businesses, we’re consciously using waste.
- Wood offcuts are unavoidable, even though we use each piece of timber as carefully as possible. We use offcuts to create smaller products, and where that isn’t possible, we turn those pieces into kindling, which is then distributed to local homes, and businesses such as pubs for use in fires and wood burning stoves.
- Sawdust is another factor, and we’re not just throwing it away! In order to return our sawdust to the land, it is used by local farms for animal bedding, which means it biodegrades in manure piles and compost heaps.
- Packaging is essential for our products. We’ve chosen boxes made from 75% recycled board that is 100% recyclable, and fully compostable after use, which helps to reduce the impact of additional trees being cut down for packaging. One point to note – our metal fixing strips are still packaged in bubble wrap, as it is still the best solution, but customers can add it to their soft plastic recycling. It isn’t ideal, but the best solution right now, and when we can, we’ll switch to something better.
✅ We're investing in planting trees – we spoke at length about the One Tree Planted programme, because it is a great way to plant more trees without needing to get your hands dirty! Put simply, One Tree Planted is a non-profit organisation that uses funds raised to plant trees – and every dollar that is donated plants one tree. They have active projects on almost every continent, including in the UK and Ireland.
We chose to partner with One Tree Planted because they’re doing great work, and our values align well. We made a greater pledge than one dollar, one tree though! For every tree we make use of within our business, we’re donating ten dollars to One Tree Planted. That means ten trees planted for each one we use – on top of the four that are planted in the sustainable forests we use.
If you’re shopping with us, we’ve also made it easy for you to donate to One Tree Planted and plant trees. During checkout, you’ll see the step to add a tree to your order – and we’ll pass that donation through as we transfer funds.
You can donate to One Tree Planted here – and if you’re looking for a sustainable Christmas gift idea for someone who already has everything they need, why not give them the gift of trees?
What about Christmas trees?
Talking of Christmas, and of trees – we should talk about Christmas trees! If you’re choosing a real fir or spruce, then you’ll need to decide whether you want to be able to plant this year’s tree in your garden or not, and if you don’t, then you’ll need to find the best way to recycle your Christmas tree.
How to plant your Christmas tree in your garden
If you’re planning to plant your Christmas tree in the garden, or maybe to keep it in a pot to be able to use again next year, then you’ll need to buy a tree with a healthy root ball. These are wrapped in burlap (a type of sacking), to protect the roots. A fir or spruce with a root ball is an expensive option compared to cut trees, but if you keep it well, it will look great for years to come. Trees can get really heavy, so if you’re growing it in a pot, then think about using a metal caddy with wheels to make it easier to bring it indoors next December.
Can you plant a cut Christmas tree?
Cut Christmas trees can’t be planted – once the tree is separated from the roots, it isn’t going to create new ones unfortunately. There is a possibility that you can grow a tiny Christmas tree by taking cuttings from this year’s tree, but it is tricky, and often not successful. The key is to take the cuttings from a tree that is both young, and freshly cut. If the tree has been cut and then stored for a number of days or weeks, then the chances of cuttings being viable reduce dramatically. But if you do happen to be successful – well, that’s brilliant! You can find out the steps to take when taking cuttings from your Christmas tree here.
What can I do with my cut Christmas tree in January?
There are a few ways you can reuse your Christmas tree in January. There are tree recycling facilities that pop up in the first week or so of the new year – they turn the trees into mulch that can be used on flower beds in parks and gardens. Since your tree is a natural thing, this is one of the best ways that cut Christmas trees can be returned to the earth. Some local councils will collect Christmas trees with normal garden waste collection, but make sure you check before you put it out – there might be additional charges if they don’t normally collect them.
Our final thoughts
While planting trees alone won’t save the planet – it is a good step in the right direction. Whatever step you can take, whether it is planting trees on a piece of land you own, making donations to your preferred tree planting organisation, or simply using Ecosia to help fund more trees, every little helps. If you can do more than one of these things, so much the better! In the meantime, we’ll continue to do as much as we can to reduce the impact of our business on the environment, and we know you will too.