Tree seedlings sought for local Community Tree Nurseries

Do you have any spare tree seedlings in your garden that you can donate to the Community Tree Nurseries being set up at Kingston Maurward College and at the Community Farm in Dorchester?

One of the national responses to the climate and ecological emergency has been a call to plant more trees and hedgerows in suitable locations across the UK. This has led to a number of voluntary groups setting up local tree nurseries to help meet the growing demand for young trees and hedgerow plants. Kingston Maurward College and Trees for Dorset have set up a new tree nursery at the College this autumn, as has Transition Town Dorchester at the Community Farm in Poundbury.

Both tree nurseries are keen to receive donations of tree seedlings, particularly those suitable for planting in hedgerows such as Hawthorn, Hazel, Field Maple, Holly, Guelder Rose, Common Dogwood, Spindleberry and Blackthorn (being very careful with the thorns). We can also find suitable homes for small trees such as Cherry Plum, Crab Apple and Rowan which are excellent for wildlife and which seem to do well in the Dorchester area.

Tree seedlings are best moved when they are dormant in the winter months (late November to early March) and when they are about 15-25 cm tall (6” to 10”). The seedlings can either be transferred to a pot (not too big as tree seedlings seem to do best when their roots are a bit cramped) filled with garden soil or with a 50:50 mix of peat-free compost and sharp sand or horticultural grit (which helps with the drainage). Alternatively, they can be relocated as ‘bare root’ seedlings in a loosely sealed plastic bag as long as the roots are kept cool (ie. frost-free), and damp (eg. accompanied by a damp kitchen towel), and the seedlings are replanted within a couple of days.

We have collected and prepared about 2000 seeds and berries from local trees this autumn and, hopefully, some of these will start to germinate in spring 2022 and others in the following spring. All being well, these saplings will be ready to plant locally from winter 2023 onwards. 

In the meantime, the local tree nurseries would love to receive tree seedlings from your garden as they should be ready to plant earlier than the seeds we have collected! If you have lots of spare tree seedlings (of the species listed above), and feel daunted by the prospect of moving them, we might be able to arrange a volunteer from the tree nursery to help with the task.

To donate tree seedlings, to volunteer at one of the Community Tree Nurseries, or if you would like more information, please get in touch using our contact form

For more information about Community Tree Nurseries in Dorset, please see

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