Plant Trees to Future-proof Against Disease

Tuesday 20 November 2012

RHS Dig Together Day 2012 (November 24–25)

To boost the UK tree population and future-proof against the spread of disease, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is calling on the public to plant a diversity of trees in their local area for RHS Dig Together Day (24–25 November).

Throughout November, garden societies affiliated with the RHS, of which there are nearly 3,000, have been holding tree-planting events across the UK to promote the environmental benefits of trees in our neighbourhoods, towns and cities. Events range from large-scale projects such as the planting of 200,000 trees in Immingham, Lincolnshire to smaller activities like that in Jersey where local schools planted three oak saplings to replace a felled tree.

Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticultural Advisor, says: “We can all help to keep our towns and cities green and healthy by planting trees. The outbreak of ash dieback is probably going to be devastating but it is important to retain ash trees for as long as we can. We thoroughly recommend in areas that are unplanted, to plant a diversity of trees to ensure future-proof against the spread of diseases. Many thousands of native saplings, from hawthorn to field maple, have already been planted by our affiliated gardening societies this month, but we’re now urging the British public to get involved. Trees are so important for biodiversity, flood prevention, energy saving and health and wellbeing, especially in cities where there is a shortage of tree cover in public places.”

RHS Dig Together Day 2012, an annual celebration of the work of the UK’s gardening clubs and societies, will this year coincide with National Tree Week (24 November – 2 December), the festival that is organised by The Tree Council every year to mark the launch of the winter tree-planting season. RHS Dig Together Day will also reinforce the messages of Defra’s Big Tree Plant. Last year, one RHS initiative alone saw 84,000 trees planted across Britain.

Pauline Buchanan Black, Director-General of The Tree Council and Chair Defra’s Big Tree Plant Partnership Board, says “Anyone with land of their own, whether a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference to their view by adding a tree. This year, though, RHS Dig Together Day and National Tree Week carry particular significance as we look for ways to minimise the impact of ash dieback and choose trees that are right for the places where they are planted. Not since Dutch elm disease has there been the same urgency to safeguard the view for future generations”

RHS research shows that the planting of trees helps cool the air in our towns and cities, combating dangerous temperatures caused by the urban-heat island affect. They also intercept intense rain, slowing runoff and so reducing the pressure on urban drains and increase our health and overall wellbeing. Trees are also a haven for wildlife so vital for biodiversity.*

For details of RHS Dig Together Day events being held across the country visit:  

To get involved, find your local gardening group by visiting  



Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 or  

*For RHS information on the benefits of urban greening, including a report, visit:  

About the RHS Affiliated Societies Scheme
The RHS has been supporting horticultural clubs and societies for more than 100 years. The idea of a ‘union’ between the Horticultural Society of London and the various provincial societies of the day first emerged in 1858. By 1877, 55 societies had joined the scheme, each paying five guineas a year in order to receive show medals and horticultural advice.
Today there are nearly 3,000 gardening clubs and horticultural societies affiliated to the RHS, making it the largest network of gardening clubs in the UK. The scheme represents an enormously diverse mix of groups including specialist plant societies, allotment groups, community gardening initiatives, school gardening clubs and overseas gardening groups among many others

Get Involved Map
This online map enables volunteers to find and contact their local community gardening groups, RHS Affiliated Societies and schools registered with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. There are thousands of opportunities to get involved with community gardening groups and schools around the UK. To search through more than 1,000 “in Bloom” groups, 1,100 It’s Your Neighbourhood groups, 13,000 schools and 1,235 affiliated clubs and societies, visit:

About National Tree Week
The 38th annual National Tree Week runs from 24th November to 2nd December 2012 and marks the launch of the bare root tree planting season. First run by The Tree Council in 1975, National Tree Week was launched to plant new trees to replace those killed by Dutch elm disease - “Plant A Tree In ‘73”. Thousands of events still take place every year across the UK, arranged by organisations, volunteers, local community groups and schools. Most events involve tree planting, but many also use other ways of raising awareness about trees such as woodland walks, tree identification tours, workshops, talks, tree surveys and Wood Fairs with woodturning demonstrations and storytelling. The RHS is one of the founding members of The Tree Council. has details of local National Tree Week events and tips on tree planting and aftercare.

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s foremost gardening charity, helping and inspiring millions of people to garden. We do this at our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262