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Helping farmers benefit from tree planting

Water management is an urgent issue - a cost to the farm and society. In 2011 drought cost farmers 400 million while in 2012, floods wreaked havoc with crops and livestock. And with over 70% of UK land in agricultural production, farming has a big impact on water quality and flood risk.

Planting trees to protect water quality:

Water pollution is costly for farmers and the environment. An estimated 25% of phosphates and 50% of nitrates in rivers are from agricultural sources, leached from soils or carried in surface water run-off. With extreme and unpredictable weather patterns predicted to become more frequent, trees can be a natural and effective part of the solution. They help by: Protecting soils - preventing erosion of valuable topsoils and contamination of streams and rivers. Capturing diffuse pollution - reducing the risk of run-off and leaching of fertilisers and manures into streams and rivers. As a buffer around yards and buildings, tree can help capture airborne pollutants and accidental spillages.

Fighting flooding:
Slowing the speed at which water reaches rivers and drains is key. Planting trees can help by: Improving water infiltration by up to 60 times - increasing infiltration reduces the risk of runoff. Delaying flood peaks - spreading the time over which water runs into streams and rivers.

Complementing your farming system

The Woodland Trust is a charity offering free expert advice to help farmers identify where planting and managing trees can improve water management. Our approach focuses on maximising areas of unproductive land such as field corners and margins, and areas unsuitable for growing or grazing.

10 ways trees benefit your farm...

Protect valuable topsoils
Around 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil are eroded each year. Erosion caused by heavy rainfall can be minimised by planting trees across contours or in areas known to be vulnerable, preventing soils being washed away.

Attract pollinators

Tree windbreaks provide habitat and shelter for pollinators.

Support local wildlife

Shelter for crops and pasture Protect water quality

Native trees and woods provide havens for wildlife.

Shelterbelts can improve yield by reducing water loss by crops and pasture. Trees act as nutrient sinks, trapping pollutants and helping stabilise riverbanks.

Reduce your heating bills

Grow your own sustainable supply of firewood and avoid the increasing costs of fossil fuels. 2 -3 hectares of woodland produces enough fuel to heat a typical farmhouse for 1 year.

Shelter and shade for livestock

Trees provide protection from heat stress and wind chill, improving animal welfare and supporting production.

Income from game and timber

Practical ways to diversify farm revenue.

Reduce the carbon footprint of you farming business

Trees capture and store carbon.

Create an attractive farmscape

Trees bring colour, structure and natural beauty.

Generous planting grants available

Government planting grants are available across the UK alongside support from the Woodland Trust for smaller schemes. We work with farmers to find the best financial grants and incentives, providing specialist advice based on a site visit. Contact us to find out more.

Call 0845 293 5689 email

A non-profit making company limited by guarantee. The Woodland Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales no. 294344 and in Scotland no. SC038885. The Woodland Trust logo is a registered trademark. TM Trademark of Royal Bank of Canada. Photos: WTPL/Pete Leeson, WTPL/Andy Tryner, Brian Robert Marshall - Geograph, Dr Richard Smith - EA and iStock. 5473 10/12