People are keen to plant trees for the environment – but do not know the best time to get saplings into the ground, a survey suggests.
The National Trust is urging people to plant trees or donate to a charity during the tree-planting season, which is getting under way, to help tackle the climate and nature crisis.
Polling for the conservation charity suggests half of people (49%) would consider planting a tree to help the environment, with around one in six (16%) saying they had already done so.
Almost as many (46%) would think about putting one in their garden while 38% said they had already done so.
More than a quarter (28%) would consider donating to a charity to carry out tree planting and more than a third (35%) would buy someone a tree rather than flowers or another gift.
But just 7% of the 2,271 people polled by YouGov thought winter was the best time to plant trees, which the National Trust said was the ideal time for tree planting.
More than two fifths (42%) said spring was the best time to get them in the ground, but spring and summer are the worst times for tree planting as young trees need a lot of water and the UK tends to have less rainfall then, so saplings are more likely to fail, the National Trust said.
John Deakin, head of trees and woodland at the National Trust, said: “Every tree can make a difference to our planet. Trees are good for people, nature and vital in our battle against climate change.”
He said trees can be effective at capturing and storing carbon once they become more established – typically when they are five years old – and are at their most effective for absorbing the greenhouse gas when they are between 30 and 100 years old.
Carbon continues to accumulate in well-managed woodlands and open grown trees, and they provide a home for wildlife throughout their lives, he said.
Trees also need to be planted to offset the losses caused by diseases such as ash dieback, some of which are being exacerbated by climate change stresses such as drought or warmer temperatures, he said.
“It’s really important that we all play our part – literally every tree counts. And, even if people don’t have the space to plant a tree, they can donate to our ‘plant a tree’ campaign to help make a difference to nature.”
This winter the National Trust has plans to plant more than 600,000 trees, including creating new woodland on the coast of north Devon to benefit pollinators, bats and people, and bringing woods back to the cloughs – or ravines – and valleys of the High Peak in the Peak District.