The Growing Diversity Project

A joint partnership between Fellowship Of The Trees and The Woodland Trust, funded by The Forestry Commission’s Tree Production Innovation Fund, supporting Community Tree Nurseries in England.


This new exciting partnership initiative between Fellowship of the Trees and the Woodland Trust is funded by the Tree Production Innovation Fund from the Forestry Commission.

The project will support Community Tree Nurseries in England and will
run until March 2025. It is really important that those involved in CTNs in England contribute to the development of the project with ideas and feedback.

We encourage you to contact us by email here or through our Social Media platforms. We will have a mailing list too, so if you wish to be added to this, please click here.

The main active aims of the project are as follows:

  • Strengthen CTNs: through providing focused access to the tools and knowledge they need to effectively meet the demands outlined in the England Trees Action Plan – to find out more click here.
  • Prioritising seed sourcing: through sourcing bio-secure seeds and trees from specific native seed zones and also to ensure that the current market shortcomings are addressed.
  • Empowering and enabling CTNs to grow sustainably: We aim to work together with CTNs to enhance capabilities in administration, nursery skills, marketing and more so that CTNs are meeting forestry sector needs.
  • Address gaps in seed collection: To identify and act on regions where there’s very little seed collection, especially for those hard-to-source native species.
  • Focused strategies: To help develop strategies to address barriers in tree planting, offering training and resources on topics like seed collection, propagation, and biosecurity.
  • Innovation and collaboration: Encouraging the adoption of new methods, sharing of expertise and accessing specialised advice.
  • Promotion of Native species: This is the prioritisation of hard-to-source native broadleaf species for a variety of tree planting projects.
  • Community engagement: To enable diverse tree planting initiatives,
    emphasising the uses of natural regeneration and of traditional methods and hands-on community involvement. This is a key priority in the project’s aims.
  • We are planning a programme of webinars and in person training sessions at different CTNs in England. The details of these events and other news will be posted in the News and Update section at the bottom of this page.




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News & Updates

Upcoming Events (further events will be added very soon)


The next webinar will be in the Autumn, we will update this page as soon as we have the details and date confirmed.

On site/face to face sessions


July 20th – Holistic approaches to growing Native trees from seed in a woodland for CTNs – 10.30-4.30pm.  At the Deer Wood Trust woodland, near Loddiswell in Devon. The session will be facilitated by Horticulturalist Marc Biddle. Spaces are limited so do register soon.  You find out more and register here.   

The Deer Wood Trust website is here. 

September 21st – Growing trees for Agroforestry and Climate Resilience in a CTN.  10-4pm. At Two Fields Community Tree Nursery and Farm, Debenham, Suffolk.  The facilitator for this session is Jeannie Buckingham and guest speakers. You can find out more and register here.  


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This section will include Links to useful sites as well as downloadable documents will be shared here for you to access.  Please check back soon as we will add resources to the section on an ongoing basis.

‘Good Practice Resources For Community Tree Nurseries’: You can access a comprehensive spreadsheet that includes detailed descriptions of and links to a range of both digital and printed resources relevant to CTNs.  The spreadsheet is available by following the link HERE

Growing Native Trees from Seed’ powerpoint presentation that was shared by guest speaker Andy Gordon during the webinar of the same name on the 12th March.  You can access the slides via this link HERE

The Growing Diversity project:

Introduction to Biosecurity for Community Tree Nurseries 

Short film with Moor Trees, Devon

Biosecurity is a set of precautions that aim to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful organisms. No matter the current size or scale of CTNs, it is essential that all CTNs follow protective measures to limit any spread of pathogens, pests and diseases to wider areas in the tree supply chain.   

This friendly short film (see below), highlights some very useful and important guidance and insights for effective Biosecurity measures in a Community Tree Nursery setting.  It was filmed during a Growing Diversity workshop at Moor Trees’ CTN at Dartington in February 2024.  

One of the aims of the Growing Diversity Project, is to support Community Tree Nurseries (CTNs) with growing certain identified  ‘hard to source and grow species’.  CTNs are a valuable resource for supplying a diverse range of trees for different tree planting projects.   

The Growing Diversity project is a partnership between Fellowship of the Trees and the Woodland Trust supported by the Forestry Commission’s Tree Production Innovation Fund.  An aim of the project is to provide on site training sessions on a range of important topics to support Community Tree Nurseries in England. 

There is a summary of key actions you can apply in your CTN in the final segment of the film so do look out for this, where you can pause it if necessary to make a note or save the list!  These include: Biosecurity policy;  Clear signage; Record keeping and Fencing.

The session was attended by representatives from local Community Tree Nurseries and projects. Insights about the need for effective Biosecurity measures in CTNs are shared by Moor Trees staff Dave Lewis (Tree Nursery Officer) and Helen Aldis (Chief Executive) in particular.  Also there is input from Gemma Worswick (Biosecurity and Quality Assurance Lead – Tree Supply, the Woodland Trust ) and Hayley Rogers (CTNC Coordinator, Fellowship of the Trees). 

Moor Trees is a Devon based charity dedicated to restoring native woodland on Dartmoor with the aim of improving the environment and connecting people with their forest heritage. Supported by an active group of volunteers the charity collects local provenance seeds to grow in its community tree nurseries, assists with the designing, planning and creation of high-quality woodlands and advocates for temperate rainforests regeneration. The organisation manages two CTNs as part of its overall work.

You can watch the film below and there is also a copy of the last slide from the film with the 10 key Biosecurity measures you can consider to implement in your CTN for quick reference.

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In part two of this Introduction to growing webinar series, Adam Owen, consultant and previous Director for Moor Trees Devon provides an in depth presentation of key factors to consider when growing trees from seeds in a CTN.  The structure of the webinar is as follows:

  • Plant Health
  • A brief overview of key pests and diseases and tips to help prevent spread
  • A brief overview of FRM – Forestry Reproductive Materials guidelines and processes
  • Irrigation
  • Handling of saplings 
  • Moving and planting young trees
  • Q and A.



In this extended length webinar, Adam Owen, consultant and previous Director for Moor Trees Devon provides an in depth presentation of key factors to consider when growing trees from seeds in a CTN.  The structure of the webinar is as follows:

  • Deciding what to grow and why – purpose, how many trees should we grow, where to start
  • Choosing how to grow – soil, compost, pots including ground preparation, weed control,
  • Propagation – seed collection, seed preparation, stratification, germination, pricking out and potting on, feeding.
  • Q and A.

For example: He focuses in particular on some of the key ‘hard to source and grow species’ such as: Guelder Rose, Small Leaved Lime, Holly and Spindle.  th.    


Richard Higgs, Director and Emma Jones Volunteer and Engagement Officer from More Trees BANES in Bath share a range of tips and insights around supporting and developing a diverse volunteer base. These include: effective ways to motivate, communicate and share information with volunteers. Also some examples of how More Trees BANES engage with growing some of the ‘hard to source and grow’ Native tree species that this project is focused on.    


Amanda Calvert, Auditor for Grown in Britain, Plant Healthy and UK and Ireland Sourced and Grown Schemes shares on the key reasons why being involved in such schemes can both support and benefit a CTN.  Jessica Stanton and Adam Rayner from Bolghen CTN in Cornwall share on their experiences of being involved in the first/pilot CTN group for Plant Healthy.   


Rebecca Gosling, Lead Policy Advocate for Tree Health and Invasive Species at the Woodland Trust provides detailed guidance on the following:

General signs and symptoms of ill health in trees (that can be applied to any species)

  • Specific pests and pathogens of some ‘hard to source and grow species’
  • Reporting findings
  • Signposting further resources.

We hope the range of perspectives and issues covered help you in your CTN’s development.

In this first webinar, we have three guest speakers sharing tips and advice on the financial and administrative considerations involved in running a Community Tree Nursery.  Our speakers were: Helen Aldis, Chief Executive from Moor Trees in Devon, Dave Lewis, Nursery Officer also from Moor Trees and Rodney Shearer, Managing Director from Elsoms Trees Ltd.  We hope the range of perspectives and issues covered help you in your CTN’s development.

In this introductory episode, we have Hilary Campbell Project Co-ordinator and Matthieu Baudry head of tree supply from the Woodland Trust sharing details about this exciting new project. This includes a Q&A section after Matthieu’s presentation. The event is aimed at those who are involved in a CTN (community tree nursery) in England. Please share with others this is relevant to.

Join us to grow and restore forests and communities for future generations.