Oxford Garden Centre
Oxford Garden Centre

How to Plant a Tree for the Queen’s Green Canopy

One of the great pleasures of gardening is seeing the positive impact that we can achieve for local wildlife and biodiversity. By taking care of our own little green spaces, all of us can play a small part in contributing toward a richer, healthier natural world.

Lush green tree canopy

In Britain, one excellent way to participate is by getting involved in the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGP) initiative. Running from October 2021 to the end of 2022, the QGP is the perfect opportunity to plant your first ever tree. In this article, we’ll explain what the QGP is all about, as well as sharing some tree planting tips that will let you successfully plant a tree for the jubilee.

What is the Queen’s Green Canopy?

The Queen’s Green Canopy is “a unique tree-planting initiative” timed to coincide with Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Open to everyone in Britain, the QGC seeks to promote sustainable planting while “honouring The Queen’s leadership of the Nation, which will benefit future generations.”

As with many royal initiatives, the QGC is aimed primarily at groups such as social clubs, schools, and youth organizations, as well as local villages, towns, cities, and counties. But it is also open to individuals, especially those with a garden or easy access to a natural space.

School group planting sapling trees

Tying it all together is a map on the QGC website that shows the location of every single tree planted in the UK as part of the initiative. The map serves as a “digital historical record” of all participants’ trees in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee.

The ecological aspect of the QGC is, of course, the most important part of all. As summed up by the official website, the initiative “seeks to highlight the significant value of trees and woodlands as nature’s simple but highly effective way to clean the air we breathe, slow the impact of climate change, create important wildlife habitats and improve our general health and wellbeing.”

Our Top 7 Tree Planting Tips

Father and young son planting a tree in their garden

Planting a tree isn’t as daunting as you might think. Participants in the Queen’s Green Canopy will be pleased to know that you can plant a healthy tree by following seven simple steps. These are:

  1. Choose the right tree – Every garden is different. This means choosing the right tree to suit your garden’s drainage, sunlight, and soil type. Visit Oxford Garden Centre or contact us online/by phone to speak to one of our horticultural experts. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through the different types of tree on offer in order to find the best option for your garden.
  2. Dig the right size hole – Size matters when digging to plant a tree. Your hole should be dug at the same depth as the pot and three times wide, using a garden fork to loosen the surrounding soil (check out our range of forks and spades here). Some experts even suggest removing the soil around the hole and replacing it with good-quality compost or tree planting soil.
  3. Soak the roots – According to the RHS, before planting, gardeners should soak the root ball in water. The easiest way to do this by standing the root ball in a bucket or similar container and letting the water thoroughly soak through.
  4. Plant at the correct level – There are two schools of thought as to the correct level at which to plant the root ball. In our experience, both result in a healthy, thriving tree. Option 1 is to align the level of where the roots meet the trunk to the surface of the soil. Option 2 is to plant with up to 25% of the root ball above ground – this allows soil to taper up, which settles the ground and minimizes the risk of rot.
  5. Add soil and compost – We always recommend improving the soil around new trees or plants. Make sure to use a reliable compost such as Westland Tree & Shrub Planting & Potting Mix (£7.99, 60L) in combination with good-quality soil such as Melcourt Blended Loam Topsoil (£74, 20L). You can also extend the size of the hole to match the breadth of the roots – tree roots favour the good soil and compost around the new tree, so will be encouraged to spread over a wider area.
  6. Protect and support – Place a plastic tree guard around the base of the tree to protect against wildlife. These can be held in place with a tree stake such as Grange Tree Stakes (£2.17-£2.80, 4 sizes) or Smart Garden Tree Ties (£1.30, 30cm).
  7. Water and add mulch – Unlike many plants, you can afford to be generous with watering your tree. Make sure to add good-quality mulch, such as Melcourt Spruce Ornamental (£9.99 for 6L or £84.20 for 600L), around the base of the tree, leaving a 10cm-wide “collar” to prevent the base of the trunk from rotting.

What trees and pots does Oxford Garden Centre offer?

A selection of trees for sale at Oxford Garden centre

We stock a wide variety of native ornamental trees and fruit and nut trees suitable for any type of British garden. These trees include, but are not limited to, Acers, Bay, Olive, and ornamental Cherry. For full guidance on which trees to plant in your garden, speak to one of our experts.

Large display of Apta plant pots at Oxford Garden Centre

Many of these trees are well-suited for planting in pots – ideal for smaller gardens and courtyards. Our best range of extra large pots for trees are the Apta Old Stone pots. Boasting a lovely rustic look, these pots come in three distinct shapes – Ribbed Cone (£24.99-£149.99, 3 sizes), Cylinder (£34.99-£149.99, 3 sizes), and Jardineer (£49.99-£149.99, 3 sizes).