Thanks for looking us up! We are Generation Restoration! Our project has been working in association with Crann, Trees for Ireland for some years now. We have been collaborating since 2015 with the Tree Council of Ireland, and more recently with Coillte, the Dept. of Agriculture and the Marine and many other supporters and supporting communities to help “kickstart” new community tree planting all over the country as part of our Plant-for-the-Planet children’s challenge to plant 1M trees by 2023. Here are some of our frequently asked questions so we can…
How to Care for Bare Root Trees?
Q; We have bare root trees but now can’t plant them, help!
You can heel them in asap
or plant them in pots in compost. Also asap. Or give them out to people/neighbours/relatives for their gardens/farms etc. which is even better as planting in ground is best of all – they don’t always all survive heeling in. Make a list of all the locations your trees are distributed for adding to the map later. Just keep the roots moist in the meantime.
If you plant them in large pots (or in buckets…can be 3 to a pot…sometimes chippers have free oil or mayonnaise buckets) they are easier to keep watered than in small pots.
Q; What kind of trees do we plant?
Good trees or bad trees?
A; Hah!We say “Right tree in the right place”. No such thing as a bad tree
folks, is what we say. We count oak and silver birch, downy birch and alder,
holly and Scot’s pine, hawthorn and rowan among the roll call of our young
trees”. Native species trees are about 90 per cent or more of what we have
planted so far; usually grown in Irish nurseries. All our saplings distributed
and planted in the 2020-2021 season were Irish-grown natives with the exception
of one batch of Hawthorn which originated in the UK as we were not able to
source enough on the island of Ireland for demand last year of this (native)
species. We have planted some half-standard and standard trees not on the
natives list; apple, damson, pear (Marian Hostel and Scoil Mhuire sites,
Tullamore) and some Corsican Pine (in consultation with local tree expert Don
Brasil, chosen for the history of this species going back over 100 years at the
site on Carlingford Lough and for its suitability to the climatic conditions
featuring harsh, salty sea breezes.) In previous years we have planted an
avenue of trees lime (Fermoy, an avenue in collaboration with local schools,
beekeepers and Tidy Towns), horse chestnut, beech (Malahide Castle demesne,
renewing the canopy now losing many of these old species to storms), sycamore
(Baldoyle, St. Nessan’s School) and maple and red oak during our Science Week
2019 initiative countrywide for colour and fun. Children love to plant the
We’ve planted these other common “naturalised” Irish trees such as beech,
horse chestnut, maple, lime and sycamore as they add to the climate resilience of
our woodlands and hedgerows. Sycamore for example is much loved by bees even
though it is not on our natives list. (My husband really dislikes sycamore, the
leaves that fall into our pond are a problem to fish out. We’ve been making
violins for a long time out of sycamore in Ireland do you know. My daughter’s
violin dating from the 1800s is made of sycamore and has been played by my
daughter and myself and my aunt when we were children, and a great – uncle,
that is 4 generations we know of, it sounds very sweet!). We like variety; the
genetic base of Ireland’s 28 natives is very narrow as they came over
originally on a land bridge/windborne after the Ice Age and spread across the
country, it leaves them very vulnerable to wipe-out from disease and/or climate
change. This is happening to our Ash currently with dieback, as happened to Elm
and Scots Pine in the past. Our Number 1 sponsor is Coillte Nature whose
nurseries in Carlow do a superb job and have supplied really first-rate
saplings. We can’t guarantee any particular mix, this year 2022-23 we are
providing either saplings that will grow big (woodland mix), will end up
smaller (hedgerow mix) or a combination. If you want particular species then
why not organise them yourself from a local nursery, we use what we can get our
hands on. Growing from local seed is also a great thing to do if you want to
try that. Re; bad trees – the Sitka Spruce and its cousins get a constant bad
press; we have not planted any Sitka Spruce yet; we do use paper and sit at wooden
desks and on wooden floors and….so we have no objection to such trees.
Variety is great, extensive monoculture is not recommended in any area of
growing things. The potato famine in Ireland taught us all about the folly of
relying excessively on one species alone!
When to Plant
Our bare-root planting season runs from early December to April as a rule.
It’s great to be sending out good news to our final groups as I write in April 2022 with the IPCC report in every paper this morning recommending tree planting. Is it too late in the year to plant? Well we have been working hammer-and-tongs getting deliveries out, we had a long waiting list to look after first from last year. These trees have been refrigerated after harvesting so they arrive to you in optimum condition. The only thing to watch for trees planted this late is to ensure you water them well on planting, again 3 weeks later and if there is a drought; more water – ideally from your rain barrel or grey water for sustainability. Schools have been prioritised to receive their allocations before holidays.
When can we order?
Our orders close the week after National Tree Week in March. We re-open applications in the Autumn/Winter, first we have to go and see what trees we can make available. If you are in a hurry you can order potted trees at any time from a local nursery and if you want specific mixes then why not talk to them about ordering from them next Autumn. If you are a private landowner outside of co-operative groups be aware that we prioritise children planting on public lands and institutional planting with their communities so you will be last on our list and there is a good chance you will not be catered for. You can buy bare root saplings for as little as a euro in large quantities in some places or you can grow them from local seed for free which is even better.
Can you send us free trees?
A; There is no such thing as a Free Tree as our collaborating nurseries here in Ireland have gone to great efforts growing saplings for us with Tender Loving Care. Having said that if you are interested in planting on public land such as local authority land, parks, roadsides, hospitals, institutions and school grounds then we have received sponsorship from some great people who want to help us. We can add you to our list and we will do our best to accommodate you! In return we ask that you commit to storing your trees in a cool place securely in their forestry bags making sure the roots stay moist, planting your trees within a few days and watering your trees until they get established which can be 2 years or so. Unless there is a lot of dry weather that task is not usually too tricky in Ireland. Last thing; protect them from Enemy No. 1; people with strimmers and mowers; as well as the issue where your trees are being engulfed by weeds which slow down the trees’ growth – you can trample on the weeds, pull the weeds and mulch is your friend and looks pretty too. These trees are donated to you for continuous cover woodland so while thinning or pruning may be appropriate at some stage these trees are not being planted as a crop for clear felling but as a permanent home for nature in your locality. We ask also that you provide the GPS co-ordinates for your planting site and share the love by telling your local and social media about our contribution to the #UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration; use #generationrestoration #restore #easytreesie hashtags please if you go in for that kind of thing. We really like to thank our sponsors and helpers so how about a shout out!
How Many Trees can I Ask For? 300 saplings or enough for .1 of a hectare (the size of a big classroom) is the max size order we are facilitating; we are taking orders for 100 – 300 saplings. Fits on the back of an adult bike if you have panniers or the front seat of a car in plastic bin-bag size bags.
Note; a new amendment was made in April 2022 to allow for the planting of up to 1ha (2,500 – 3k saplings) once they are of native varieties ( in response to our and other groups advocating for an easing of the restrictions on planting; well done all!). We welcome this new amendment.
Regulations to planting still exist which are still highly restrictive in comparison to our European and UK neighbours. We continue advocating for improvements to this restriction to allow for an expansion both of the area planted and the species mix to allow for naturalised common Irish trees and mixed fruit orchards in diverse planting schemes to make provision for climate resilience and resistance to disease.
How soon will we know?
We often do not know until the last minute around Tree Week, late March
We will look for your first and last name, address and Eircode/postcode for your delivery, 2 phone numbers so that the van driver can reach you and does not have to wake us early in the morning or late at night if they cannot find where you are, an email address so we can contact you and how many you want in batches of 100. We will ask you to add them to our map as obviously we do not want to annoy the nurseries near you with people setting up some kind of shop lol. We are waiting to see what we can send this year. There has been a bit of a shortage of small-growing varieties that we like for hedgerow/understorey/garden varieties. We have planned with our sponsors for a greater variety of smaller-growing species in the upcoming seasons from 2023 onwards.
How do we plant the trees?
Guidelines; saplings are planted at 1.5m or 2m spacing, 2,500 – 3,000 per hectare is the recommended density. 250 – 300 fits in .1 of a hectare. There is a theory that the less the ground is disturbed, the less carbon is released so usually rotavating is not required. Preparation of the planting hole is important, wide at the top is good as it allows the roots to spread out. Remove any big stones obviously. Loosening up the earth helps the tree take root. If sod is removed, if you replace the sod upside-down then this kills the grass. Watering is an important step to finish. Applying mulch after planting is very beneficial; a mat of cardboard under the mulch can supress weeds and assist growth. It also looks pretty. You may want to mark the saplings if there is any chance at all that an over-enthusiastic strimming or mowing team will remove all the new saplings. If using coloured tape or ribbon be very sure to come back and remove the tape or ribbon as the trees grow so that your new trees are not strangled! In areas with deer/rabbits etc. a tree guard is advisable or you may come back the following morning and all your saplings could be gone – available from Kestrel Ireland! Staking is not usually required for our saplings.
How long does it take to plant
We’ve been following the Plant-for-the-Planet Tree Academy template, planting 300 trees in 105 minutes. For this result we have say about 45 school children aged 8 – 12 and a dozen helping leaders and adults. If our youngsters are around 5th or 6th class, aged 11-12 or older then fewer adults are required. If the children are small, we have more adult helpers! This is for soft ground that is easy to dig, if the ground is hard then obviously it takes longer. Lately we have tried our former intern AB’s idea; have volunteers dig all the holes in advance; the children arrive, hold their sapling in the air all together, we blow a whistle and we plant say 50 in one go! This way works very well for us with smaller children as they do not require any tools and they can fill in the soil using gloved hands or they could use their boots, wellingtons or old ideally washable shoes such as runners to move the pile of dug-up soil in and firm down the sapling. (a spare pair of shoes is essential if they are going back to school) Working in pairs is also a good idea.
When will we add our trees to the UNEP Map?
The App is undergoing some refinements just now, we will email you with
simple instructions on how to add your planting to the world
Plant-for-the-Planet map so that we can monitor the trees’ progress and report
back to our sponsors.
Where do we plant trees?
We prioritise facilitating tree provision for permanent woodland
establishment on public lands. We always ensure we have permission from local
authorities/ landowners in writing before planting as well as a commitment to
see to the aftercare of the trees.
Can I just go out with my saplings and plant on my street, green or in the
If you plan to risk “guerrilla planting” please do so at your own
expense. We have found local authorities and landowners most willing to
participate in our initiative and indeed have received financial support from 9
local authorities to date. Often there are plans for future development in
county plans/issues with drains/cables etc. which affect choice of planting
site. Would you like someone coming and planting things in your garden without
asking? Exactly, so it is important to have the permission of the landowner. The risk is great that the saplings will be removed by strimming etc.
unless your community planting is part of an agreed plan.
Do we supply hanging baskets or vegetables?
Ok that is not a frequently asked question but we were asked these two
questions in the last fortnight as I write. When we have planted the million trees we plan
to plant more. At the end of the decade of restoration we will consider, with
the trillion trees planted worldwide, whether we want to then take on
vegetables or flowers. Lol. Best talk to the experts in these fields in the
meantime, e.g., Grow it Yourself Ireland, great organisation. Who incidentally
gave us a lot of help finding us orchard locations in Kilkenny!
Do you plant fruit trees?
If you want fruit trees from us, we run competitions from time to time; these cost us €17.00 each minimum and so we use them for special occasions. Keep an eye on our social media for such offers. You would be quicker to organise them yourself but if you have a really really good case for an orchard email us at email@example.com with Orchard in the subject line and we might be able to find a sponsor for your request.
How do I get trees?
Please send me your first and last name, address and eircode/postcode for your delivery, 2 phone numbers so that the van driver can reach you and does not have to wake us early in the morning or late at night if they cannot find where you are, an email address so we can contact you and how many you want; 100-300 . We will ask you to add them to our map as obviously we do not want to annoy the nurseries near you with people setting up some kind of shop lol. We are waiting to see what we can send this year – there has been a bit of a shortage of small-growing varieties that we like for hedgerow/understorey/garden varieties so if you are particular you may be disappointed; when they’re gone they’re gone. We have planned with our sponsors for a greater variety of smaller-growing species in the upcoming seasons from 2023 onwards.