Big Tree Giveaway

Big Tree Giveaway 2024

The Big Tree Giveaway returns for its third year to Oasis Pools, Cardington Road on Wednesday 21 February and Saturday 24 February from 10am to 1.30pm.

5000 trees are being offered to residents, community groups, schools and local business to plant within the Borough. 

For more details please see our FAQ and species guide.


Frequently asked questions

How many trees can I get?

Each resident is able to receive up to five trees and community groups, schools and business can receive woodland packs of 25.

What trees are available?

We are providing a mixture of 5,000 mixed native broadleaf trees and shrubs ranging from mighty oaks down to the colourful dogwood. 

Please see our species guide further down this webpage for more details.

Do I need to bring anything?

Please bring a plastic bag to take your trees home in, you can use your next waste bag or reuse a shopping bag from a store.

Where can I plant my trees?

You can plant your trees on your private property or land managed by your community group. Please do not plant your trees on the highway or parkland.

How much space do the trees need?

Different species will require different amounts of space; to help you choose the trees you would like for your garden or outdoor space, please see our species guide further down this webpage. 

For hedgerows trees are ideally spaced 4 per metre and these can be staggered in two rows. If you are planning on planting a copse or small woodland trees at 2.5m spacings will encourage good upright growth and a longer period until they require thinning in the future. For less maintenance increase the space.

When should I plant my tree?

The trees supplied are mainly cell-growns, which come with a small amount of soil. This means you should plant as soon as you can but they will last until the end of the season in February if kept from drying out.

Any bare root trees should be planted as soon as possible, within a few days if kept moist.

How do I plant my tree?

  1. Make sure that any grass or weeds are cut short, or even better remove a circle around your planting location. 
  2. Dig a small pit slightly larger than the roots and deep enough so that the top of the cell is at the same level as the surrounding ground.
  3.  Loosen the soil in the root cell, place in the pit and back fill with loosened soil. 
  4. Don’t plant too deeply as this can damage your tree. 
  5. Firmly press down around your tree to remove some of the air. 
  6. Then if you are planting in a field or where rabbits and voles are common push your cane in next to the tree and wrap your guard around or use the ties provided.

How do I care for my tree?

You need to keep your tree free from weeds and other competition, you can do this by hand weeding around it or applying mulch to the area.

Mulch will also help provide nutrients and improve the soil’s water retention. 

Your trees should adapt to local growing conditions but you need to keep the soil moist in very dry conditions but can water more regularly, once a week for best results.

How can I identify my trees?

Staff will be able to help you identify trees on the day.

Will I receive a guard?

Woodland packs for schools, businesses and community groups will be provided guards and canes to protect from rabbits and hares in open spaces. 

In residential gardens you shouldn’t need one and can enjoy watching your tree grow more naturally.

Species guide

Common Alder

Thrives in poor and wet soils, provides food and shelter for wildlife with a number of insects, lichens and fungi that are completely dependent on it. A great tree for close to rivers. 

It starts of upright and becomes a large, more arched with age.

It produces dark green a glossy leaves, catkins in the spring which turn woody over the summer and release seeds in the winter.

Maximum height: 20-30m. 

Approximate size after 25 years: 12m high x 5m wide.

Common Dogwood

Best in the winter the reddish stem make a nice addition to your garden but also provides spring flowers and autumn colour. 

Like many of the smaller trees and shrubs makes a great addition to hedging or year round interest in a border. 

Maximum height: 4m.


English Oak

The national tree of England, famous for its majesty strength as well as supporting more life than any other native tree in the UK. Thriving on a wide range of soils this tree can become very large a live for a long time.

Lobed dark green leaves and acorns will provide food for creatures all around. Best for areas where there is plenty of space.

Maximum height: 30m.       

Approximate size after 25 years: 12m high x 8m wide.

Field Maple

Medium-sized tree that is suitable to coppicing or hedging, has good autumn colour and tolerates most soils, drought and air pollution. 

The UK’s only native maple attracts many insects, birds and small mammals.

Maximum height: 20m.

Approximate size after 25 years: 10m high x 7m wide.

Wild Cherry

The larger of the two native cherries provides fantastic white flowers in the spring and fruit in the autumn along with extraordinary colour. 

Often used as an ornamental feature it is one of the UK’s prettiest trees.

Thrives on alkaline soils but doesn’t like water logged ground.

Maximum height: 25m.    

Approximate size after 15 years: 12m high x 7m wide.

Guelder Rose

A large shrub that prefers moist and well-drained soil. It provides seasonal interest for much of the year with large white flowers and bright red fruits that also support a wide range of wildlife. 

Makes a nice addition to your borders and requires little work.

Maximum height: 4m.


Valued as a great hedging plant this small tree/large shrub has lots to offer to wildlife. One of the first trees in leaf it ushers in the spring with white flowers to follow. 

Watch out for thorns, it’s not one to be trifled with. 

Will grow on a wide range of soils.

Maximum height: 5m.

Crab Apple

Prefers moist, deep and fertile soils that are not too waterlogged. A small tree that provides great food and shelter for insects, birds and other wildlife. 

As well as floral displays and small fruit that you can make jelly from. Nice addition to a garden.

Maximum height: 10m. 

Approximate size after 25 years: 6m high x 4m wide.


One of our most useful small trees/shrubs, hazels thrive in most soils and can be used for hedging, kept as a coppiced stool or let loose in your garden. 

Great for wildlife and lovers of nuts alike.

Maximum height: 6m.


A superb native tree, similar to be beech but more tolerant to climate change. Provides great habitat and food for wildlife. 

Thrives on most soils even unfavourable ones and can also be used as a hedging plant. 

Gnarled and tough a great way to add character to your plot.

Maximum height: 30m.   

Approximate size after 25 years: 10m high x 5m wide.


An upright small to medium tree famous for its white flowers, red fruit and great autumn colour. A favourite of birds and other wildlife and very common garden tree. 

Prefers acid soils but will take on alkaline along with a wide range of soil types. Perfect for gardens.

Maximum height: 12m.

Approximate size after 25 years: 6m high x 4m wide.

Silver Birch

The Silver Birch is also known as the ‘Lady of the Woods’, so called because of its slender and graceful appearance. 

A medium tree with a conical but semi-weeping habit, the bark is white with horizontal lines and large diamond shaped cracks as the tree matures.

Grows well in most soils but doesn’t tolerate salts. A little bit larger in size but still a garden favourite.

Maximum height: 20m.

Approximate size after 25 years: 10m high x 6m wide.

Small-Leaved Lime

No relation to the citrus fruit but often a sign of ancient woodland and a common street and avenue tree, small-leaved limes are valuable habitat for many species of insect including lime hawk moths and have sweet-smelling flowers. 

Their distinctive heart shaped leaves droop from the branches of a tree that is suited to most soils. Withstands heavy pruning and can be pollarded or pleached.

Maximum height: 20m.

Approximate size after 25 years: 10m high x 6m wide.