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Free trees for babies

We’re keen to encourage the planting of trees in people’s gardens and to promote the many benefits that trees bring to the city. To this end, we’ll give you a tree to plant in your garden to mark your baby’s birth.

If you live in Cambridge and have room in your garden, you can claim a tree on behalf of your child of up to four years old. We also welcome applications from people who wish to celebrate an adoption or to commemorate a loved one. 

If you don’t have a garden or space to plant a tree, you could ask your place of work or your child’s nursery or school whether they have space to plant a tree. The tree must be planted in Cambridge. 

You can choose from a range of trees that have been selected for their seasonal interest and attractive features. Whether your garden is large or small, there should be a suitable tree for you.

Claim your free tree

The best time of year to plant your tree is between November and February. Therefore we order trees in September – we keep any applications received after 31 August until the following September.

There’s no need to wait until August to apply – it’s a first come, first served scheme. If we are unable to fulfil all requests, we’ll ask the most recent claimants to wait until next year.

We’ll contact you in September to offer you a choice of trees. You should find something you like – we offer a range of sizes and types to suit every location (see below).

When we’ve ordered the trees we’ll arrange some events where you can collect yours. We’ll be available to offer your some planting and tree-care tips.

Tree planting is easy and fun to do with the whole family. Download our tree planting guide [PDF, 147KB], which tells you all you need to know to get the job done.

Available trees

The choice of available trees can change from year to year. Last year, claimants could choose from the following trees:

Amelanchier (Amelanchier laevis) is a pretty small tree maturing to 12 metres with a broadly spreading crown. The leaves open a coppery pink in early spring, soon followed by sprays of pretty star-like white flowers. Round, juicy, purple-black fruit ripens by July when the birds make short work of them. Amelanchier will grow in sun or shade and most soils.

Dessert apple (Malus domestica variety) Table apples or dessert apples are a group of apple cultivars grown for eating raw as opposed to cooking or cider making. Table apples are usually sweet and the most prized exhibit particular aroma variations that differentiate them from other apples.

Medlar (Mespilus germanica) is a small round-headed tree, maturing to six metres in height and grown for its unusual flowers and fruit. It prefers sun or semi-shade and well-drained, fertile soil.

Mulberry (Morus nigra) is a small tree which reaches up to 10 metres in height with a gently rounded crown. It enjoys a warm, sunny sheltered site on any fertile soil. The leaves are big, heart shaped, rough on the topside and hairy on the underside, and turn yellow in the autumn. The flowers are barely recognisable as such, but the fruit when fully ripe is sweet and delicious, raspberry-type berries that turn from green through red/orange to deep red/black.

Pear (Pyrus cultivar) is a medium-sized tree gaining 10 metres in height with a narrow crown. It is recognised for its spring flowers and fruit. It grows best in full sun and needs well-drained soil.

Silver birch (Betula pendula) is a large, graceful tree. It will grow to about 20 metres with a spread of 10 metres. The leaves colour in the autumn and there are catkins in the spring, but the bark is its best feature. It will tolerate sun and shade and most soils.

Snakebark maple (Acer davidii) is a small tree attaining 12 meters, with a broadly conical outline. The bark resembles a snake’s skin, being bright green with vertical white, brown and grey stripes. The glossy green maple-shaped leaves colour red in the autumn. In late spring small green flowers dangle in bunches between the leaves. The fruit develops as winged seeds like helicopters, but do not self set. The tree prefers neutral to acid soils and well-drained ground.

Walnut (Juglans regia) is a large tree, reaching 15 metres in height, known for its attractive, spreading outline, glossy, aromatic leaves, deeply furrowed bark and edible nuts. It should be grown in full sun and deep, fertile, well-drained soil.

Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is compact and domed. Mature trees can grow to a height of 15 metres. The bark and twigs are smooth and grey, and the shoots are brick red in sunlight, but greyish green in shade. It will tolerate most soils.

Winter flowering cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) is a small tree which will reach eight metres in height and is noted for having pale pink flowers throughout the winter. It will grow in a sunny position and on any soil so long as it is not waterlogged.

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