How do I (re)plant trees?

More Trees Now rescues excess saplings for a second chance elsewhere. Disadvantaged seedlings are trees that have grown up in places where there is no future, for example in a place where they are mowed. On harvest days, these trees and shrubs are scooped out and thus saved. You can pick up the saplings directly or sign up for one of the big distribution days.

The More Trees Now season runs from 1 November to 1 March, with an extension to 15 March if the trees are not all distributed.

Planting is the third and final step of the More Trees Now method. Thank you for joining us in greening the Earth faster by planting! Every tree that grows is good for the climate and biodiversity. We will walk you through all the steps in this guide.

How to transplant a tree?


Choosing Trees

A tree has the greatest chance of survival when it fits a place. This depents on soil type and vegetation type. Do you want a hedge or a solitary tree? Are you looking for a tree that helps improve the soil or one that attracts insects?  Please chose the right tree, you can ask you local tree planting organisation if a tree fits your soil. 

What are you taking into account?


Always go home with a mix! Monotonous planting is disastrous for biodiversity and makes your planting vulnerable to diseases. A biodiversity of plant species also attracts a great diversity of critters etc. that keep each other in balance.


Native species are often better for biodiversity because they are part of our ecosystem. Spreading them widely is therefore a good idea! Non-native species can also contribute to our ecosystem, but can also become invasive. It is important that these trees and plants end up in a safe place. Only take non-native species if you plan to (intensively) manage your planting; such as a backyard garden or food forest.


Invasive exotics are alien plants that have proliferated without a natural enemy and therefore dominate other species. The natural enemy is missing because they have not been taken from the original ecosystem. Invasive plants are harmful. We absolutely do not want these to spread further. We therefore pull them out of the ground during harvesting, but do not plant them further. 


On your own property, you often have little to do with laws and regulations, yet it is always useful to check. For example, for fire blight: to curb this tree disease, the government has set up buffer zones. This means you cannot plant a hawthorn hedge within 500 metres of a fruit farm, and not at all in the bufferzones. Fire blight kills fruit trees and can spread through, for example, hawthorn saplings. A hawthorn hedge next to a fruit farm can therefore be a highway for the disease. Besides buffer zones, it is good to always keep this general rule: every disease ‘snaps’ at diverse plantings! So the more diverse your plantings, the less likely diseases are.


Find out about regional plants. Many  regional organisations provide advice on planting species that are common in your province. 


Plant only in a place where you have permission to plant. Do not sell the plants to third parties; More Trees Now gives trees away for free without a profit motive. 


Many of our trees and shrubs are ideally suited for an agroforestry project; i.e. a cross between forest and food production. For example, our trees are used to plant forage hedges, windbreaks of food forests and meadows, soil conditioners, and much more. Join up with your local Agroforestry project!

use a tree-finder!

Ecological Site Classification (ESC) is a web-based decision support system to help forest managers and planners select tree species that are ecologically suited to particular sites, instead of selecting a species and trying to modify the site to suit.

>>> Use it here! <<<


Obtain Trees

The start is made: you have chosen tree species. Now the task is to see which of these trees are actually in excess in nature. Some flexibility in this process is recommended. The tree you have your eye on may not always be available. However, trees that are good for the climate and biodiversity are always there!


Sign up for trees in the Tree Planner. You fill in how many trees and shrubs you would like to plant. You also give information about the soil type and describe your ambitions. Harvesting groups and hubs can thus help you find the right tree or shrub.


You can use the Tree Planner via the website

Download the app

Let’s go!

Congratulations on your profile in the Tree Planner! From now on, you will be notified every Wednesday evening at 6pm CET about the next events taking place in your area.By signing up as a collector at harvest and/or distribution events, you choose a time slot and can collect trees.

  • Seedlings are collected on harvest days. Preferably, you collect the saplings and shrubs there right away. This way, you can replant them almost immediately and they can regrow. If you have the opportunity to visit a harvest day, you can also meet local volunteers. Harvest with them for a day or help them transport the (remaining) harvest to a hub. Or take some extra for your neighbours. This way, volunteers are more likely to think of you the next time they come across the species you wanted in a different place.
  • On give-away-days, saplings are distributed from a Tree Hub: the collection point for all harvests not immediately collected within a certain region. Distribution days are often busy days for a Tree Hub. On a Tree Hub, the supply is often more extensive, but that often means more competition. A Tree Hub can therefore never promise anything, but indicates the rules of play for each distribution day! When you sign up for a distribution day, you choose a time slot and indicate how many trees or shrubs you would like to take. Every distribution day works differently. At some locations, you can choose your own trees and shrubs, while at other locations you will be given a pre-assembled package.

Transport trees

The seedlings you will pick up are between 50 and 150 centimeters. Slips are around 2 meters long, and cuttings around 50 centimeters. All often no thicker than 2 centimeters. Picking up can therefore often be done by bike! The trunk of the car is also a good option. Are you really collecting a lot of trees? Then a trailer might come in handy. The trees have dry roots (no root ball). Cover them well and water your tree when you get home.


Once you have signed up to pick up trees somewhere, you will receive a confirmation email or a confirmation in the app. With this, you will receive a QR code that is the ticket to your time slot. Upon arrival, the volunteer will scan it and note which trees you are bringing. Let the volunteer know if you have preferences, based on step 1. Never pick up trees by yourself unless instructed to do so. Always follow the volunteers’ instructions for a safe pickup day!


Consider in advance how many trees you will be collecting. Bring as deep a plastic bag as possible, a rubber band or rope and a damp towel. Place the towel on the bottom of the plastic bag. This will keep the seedling’s roots moist. If the seedlings are a little taller, it is helpful to put the bag in a pannier and tie the tops of the seedlings together in a bundle.

In the car

Lay the back seat flat and cover it with tarp. That way you will keep your car clean. Take some old towels and a bottle of water. Dampen the towels and place them over the roots. This will help the seedling’s chances of survival.


Bring: tarp, rope, elastic, old towels, bottles of water and weights. Place the trees and shrubs on the trailer with the roots facing the car. Place the old towels on top and then empty the bottles of water on the towel, this will keep the roots moist. Then cover all the trees with tarp, rope, a net and tie it down tightly so nothing can blow off.


If you are not going to plant right away, it is wise to put the trees in water or pit them immediately when you get home. You can put them in water, provided it is not freezing, for up to a week before their roots start to mold. Slips and cuttings can be put in water indefinitely. Heeling can be done by digging a hole, placing the forest trees in it and covering all roots with soil. This way the roots will not dry out before planting.


On the distribution day, the volunteer will tell you about the trees and shrubs you will take home. We encourage you to write down this information.  Still not quite there? Our bud chart has an overview of all the most commonly harvested species in winter mode!

» View the button map

More trees now App

Always the last events on your celluar phone! 

'"I have been participating in More Trees Now for a few years now. Last season, I collected almost all my trees directly from harvest days, and planted them almost immediately. Combined with occasional watering, this gave me a 99% success rate, if not 100%! Highly recommended!"'
planting location Noord-Holland


Planting trees

You are going to plant your trees, what a great day! The perfect weather for plants is cold weather. It is cold, but not freezing. It’s dry and partly cloudy, with little wind.  In this weather, planters stay dry and the roots of trees are not at risk of damage from sun and wind. Because it is cold the sap streams are at a good standstill: the tree is at rest.


When planting, it is important to put tall trees in the center of your hedge/planting, and the sun-loving flowering and berry-bearing shrubs on the outside. This way each tree gets the amount of sunlight it wants.

After about 3-4 years, you can prune back some of the trees (the fast growers that contribute the least to insects) to give light to other trees and shrubs. Or you may choose to transplant a portion and create more nature somewhere else.

Doing nothing and letting natural selection take its course can also be done, but is not always the best option for biodiversity. Helping the area can be good for insects and birds.


For both trees and shrubs, the hole in which to plant should be wide and deep enough. Wide and deep enough is about one-third deeper and wider than the roots. For cuttings, they must have at least two nodes in the ground to make new roots. A node is where the cutting sprouts; creates roots and branches. On a 50-centimeter cutting, this often means that from the bottom, you stick the cutting about 25 centimeters into the ground. Slips, such as Willows and Poplars, should be planted at least 50 centimeters into the ground. That way they touch the groundwater.

The density of holes dug varies by tree species and type of landscape element. We recommend that when planting hedges and hedgerows, the seedlings are planted reasonably close together. This way there is more biodiversity and CO₂ uptake per square meter and the canopy closes faster. This repels weeds such as thistles and sorrel because light cannot reach them. In the tree finder, you can find out how much space a tree needs to grow out. Does a tree need 2 by 2 meters? Then dig the next hole  2 meters away.


You plant the tree by placing it in the hole. In doing so, keep your tree slightly higher than the final planting depth, rather than all the way at the bottom of your hole. Eventually, the root neck (see photo below) should reach the boundary between soil and air. On some trees, you can also see some ridges on the root neck, which makes it easier. When you put the tree in, keep it stable. The roots must not twist during planting, or the tree will become unstable or may strangle itself.


Fill the hole with moist loose soil. Make sure the soil that touches the hair roots (the roots that are thinner than 1 millimeter) is well crumbled.  Shake the tree slightly up and down so that the soil gets between the hair roots. Be careful not to press large clods between the roots. This can suffocate the roots.

Don’t have loose soil? For example, because you are dealing with clay soil and the soil in the pit is not easy to loosen. Then you can think about tillage, if you have the materials for it. With a thin turf or vegetation layer you could use a power harrow, and with a thick turf or vegetation layer you could use a disc harrow. This way you loosen up the soil a bit. You could also opt for staking. These are all ways to remove the grass and loosen the soil.

Place about 10 inches of soil above the hair roots and press it down with your foot so the roots can make good contact with the soil moisture.

More trees now App

Always the last events on your celluar phone! 


Taking care of your trees

Your trees are in the earth! Great work! How can you best care for them so they have the best chance of taking root and growing into robust trees? With these tips from our arborists and ecologists, you’re sure to succeed!


It is very important that young plantings get enough water, especially in the first two years. Be alert for flattening leaves that start to droop. Then take immediate action by watering. Help the plants by pruning away tall grass in a circle around the trunk. This way you reduce competition between trees, shrubs and grass when it comes to water and nutrients. You can put wood chips around the tree bed (the area around the trunk of your tree) to better retain water.


Give your trees time! If they don’t sprout much the first year, that doesn’t mean they won’t the following year. The (damaged) roots of the seedlings must be allowed to develop so that they can handle as much water as the leaves can evaporate.


Pruning back side branches can be a way to give roots a chance to develop adequately during prolonged drought. Note! Each species has a different pruning period.

MAKE SURE the tree is comfortable!

Boost biodiversity by planting native flowers and herbs under trees and shrubs! For larger planting sites, pre-sow in advance with a native flower and herb mixture. We plant so close together that you won’t be able to reach it afterwards with machinery and difficult with a rake. Don’t do it before mid-November because there is a chance that the seeds will germinate and then be damaged during planting. The sea of flowers prevents unwanted development of plants such as thistles and sorrel, you give the trees a better chance of survival and you make a huge contribution to biodiversity already in the spring and it immediately looks like beautiful.


Do you have a limited number of trees? Then it may be well worth giving the tree some compost or mulch

Good luck with the trees. Together we are making the Earth greener faster!

We will send you a message in the summer, asking you to let us know in our system how the trees have taken root. That will help us improve the planting method. Thanks in advance!

"'The seedlings needed water about a month earlier than grower's trees. In the beginning, about 20-30% 'died' above ground, due to the wet spring which had caused a lot of leaves to grow, which couldn't be countered once it became pitch-dry. By now they are almost all sprouting again (so the roots have survived), which is very nice to see. So the tip to others: Keep watering, even if it looks like it has died!"'