Guidance - Woodland Planting Guide

Woodland Planting Guide

Benefits of Farm Woodlands

The primary objectives and benefits of planting farm woodlands are:

  • The creation of an amenity landscape feature
  • New habitats for wildlife improvement
  • Shelter to increase productivity of crops
  • Educational and recreational opportunities
  • Screening to an existing or proposed development
  • Linking existing woodlands
  • Timber Production
  • Game cover

Successful woodland establishment relies upon three key phases; planning, planting and aftercare.

Woodland Planning

Consideration should be given to; type of woodland and its objectives (see above list), woodland layout, tree spacing, species choice and protection. Trees can either be planted in rows at regular intervals, in curved lines or randomly spaced. Planting in rows simplifies future maintenance, especially if a mower is to be used to control vegetation. Planting of species can be in single species groups or mixed. Planting in groups encourages species to grow straight and tall and encourages self pruning. To quantify the total number of plants required per hectare use the following formula:

No. trees / Ha =  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Spacing between rows (m) x spacing between plants (m)

Recommended tree spacing is between 2 and 3 metres when planting in blocks. Spacing can be increased for random planting.

Where possible incorporate open ground to encourage wildlife habitats, amenity and access. Where planting is in groups then major tree species should be concentrated towards the centre of the woodland, minor tree species towards the outside and shrub planting on woodland and ride edges.

Woodland Planting

Bare-rooted forestry stock should be planted when dormant. This is generally between mid-November and mid-April. Care in handling planting stock is vital. When planting make sure plants are not exposed to the wind or sun to cause drying out. In the field, keep bare-rooted plants in the bags and where possible in a shady place.

The ideal size for woodland trees and shrubs are 40-60cm in height sourced either as seedlings or transplants. Planting methods employed can be ‘notch' or ‘pit' planting. For large scale plantings, notch planting is fast and effective. Usually a ‘T' notch is cut in the soil with the tree placed in the ground behind the spade. Make sure the roots are evenly spread and the plant is well healed in. Pit planting can be employed on smaller scale schemes and should be used when planting containerised stock or transplants with a large fibourous root structure. Fit plant protection as per manufacturer's instructions.