Is planting a tree the answer to going green?


For day 32 of our carbon fast we’ve been asked to plant a tree.

The suggestion reads “Plant a tree. One tree will absorb about a ton of carbon dioxide over the course of its
lifetime. Trees also provide shade that could reduce your air conditioning bill significantly.”

Well how practical is that for the masses?

Many people in the UK live in homes with postage stamp gardens and planting a tree on their land would all but take over.

Also, it says ‘one tree will absorb a ton of CO2 over the course of its lifetime” but there is a BIG difference between the size of a 400 year old sprawling oak tree and a small Rowan tree!

If my carbon footprint is anything to go by, I should be planting around 7 trees per year – I’ll soon be living in my own forest! We have four trees in large pots by the front door, but they will need planting soon and we don’t really have room to put them, so I’ll be offering them on Freecycle.

The other thing about planting trees is they are a bit like carbon offsetting to me. It’s better to REDUCE your carbon footprint rather than continue the way you are and think that planting a tree makes everything better 😉

If you don’t have room at home to plant a tree at home, here are some suggestions:

Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust will plant a tree on your behalf in Heartwood Forest. The aim of this forest is to create the biggest continuous native woodland in England. Your donation of £15 includes the planting of a tree and care for each tree over its first 12 years.

For every tree planted, the Woodland Trust will send you a personalised certificate and information sheet with details about the new woodland along with email updates on Heartwood’s progress, news on what events are taking place at the site and invitations to attend forthcoming tree planting events.

Trees for cities

Trees for cities charge £175. For this you choose a tree recently planted in one of their London project sites and erect a plaque on the tree’s supporting tree stake. The plaque on your dedicated tree contains an inscription of your choice, and the dedication can be up to 25 words long.

Once the dedication plaque is in place we take a photo of the dedicated tree and send it to you along with a map detailing the dedicated tree’s precise location. Plaques are removed after a period of 3 or 4 years, when the tree no longer has a need for a supporting stake, and plaques returned to their donor.

This might be a better idea for those who want to leave a donation in their will if the family can’t organise a green funeral.

National Forest

If you prefer to be more hands on, then National Forest invites you to be part of the planting. For £25 you can attend a special tree planting event. You’ll be given a choice of tree to plant on the day of the event (normally oak, ash or birch) and with the advice and expertise of foresters you can get digging!

National Forest also provide you with full instructions on how to grow and nurture an oak tree from an acorn! When your oak saplings are strong enough (usually after two years) you can go along to a planting event in The National Forest to plant your tree/s.

Big Tree Plant

For those of you who are more community minded, the Big Tree Plant sounds like a wonderful idea. The Big Tree Plant is a campaign to encourage people and communities to plant more trees in England’s towns, cities and neighbourhoods. Anyone can get involved with either planting new trees of caring for older ones.

On their website you’ll find details of local tree planting events and information about how to start your own local tree group.

What about you – what are your thoughts about dedicating trees through one of these campaigns? Can we save the planet by planting a tree?


  1. Small Footprints on April 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Hm … this is an interesting view on planting trees … and has really made me stop and think. I agree with you that any form of carbon offsetting seems to encourage people to let someone else do the work (while they continue to be part of the problem). On the other hand, if carbon offsetting weren’t available, would those same people be motivated to make a positive change? It comes down to whether or not we are better off with carbon offsetting … and I think we probably are. When I plant a tree, or any plants, I feel that I’m improving air quality. It’s a small thing … a small battle against those actions that pollute … actions that I, many times, have no control over (actions by industry, other people, etc.). I also believe that I, simply by living, will always have a carbon footprint. While I try to reduce it, I understand that by merely breathing, I contribute to the problem. So, planting seems an easy way to clean up after myself (so to speak). While some people may not have room for trees, I’ll bet that everyone can plant something … and each plant contributes to cleaner air & more oxygen. That’s not a bad thing.

  2. Mrs Green on April 19, 2011 at 6:55 am

    thanks for such a balanced and thought provoking comment – you are always full of such insight and gentleness; I appreciate that. And yes, you’re right – my post was probably a bit harsh about it; I guess sometimes I get angry LOL!