Orchard grants

This is our 9th year of orchard grants. Over 4000 new trees have given over 300 orchards a new lease of life.

Why are we giving out grants for traditional orchards? | Who is able to apply for grants? | What do the grants cover? | How many trees should I apply for? | How do I apply for the grant? | Suppliers | What next?



Applications can still be made, but they won’t be assessed until the autumn

Why are we giving out grants for traditional orchards?

The future of biodiversity-rich traditional orchards depends on the conservation of this valuable habitat. The change of orchard management during the 20th Century and intensification of fruit growing has lead to huge losses of traditionally managed, biodiverse orchards. Of the orchards that remain, our traditional orchard inventory shows that the most effective way of improving the condition of an orchard is to encourage replacement planting and filling the gaps in orchards when old trees inevitably go to the great orchard in the sky. Old trees with veteran features such as rot holes provide the best available habitats in an orchard, but we are helping to plant new trees in these orchards to secure the next hundred years of orchard wildlife.

One of the few growth areas for traditionally managed orchards are community orchards. Any orchard accessible to a community group, whether that’s a school, local street, or country park, can apply for trees through our grants programme.

The grants we are offering will help fund this replacement planting for traditional orchards that are in need of new trees, or planting in publicly accessible orchards, either through covering the cost of the trees themselves, or the cost of rootstocks onto which existing varieties in your orchard, or a variety of your choice, can be grafted.

There have been thousands of fruit varieties raised and grown in the British Isles, many now sadly lost, the remaining ones surviving in people’s orchards around the country and in specialist collections. Grafting new trees from the varieties you already have in your orchard can keep these varieties going and can preserve local heritage in your own orchard.

Who is able to apply for grants?

This grant scheme ultimately aims to get new trees planted in old orchards and to help community orchards be planted with at least a few vigorous trees. We hope to improve and protect traditional orchards as biodiverse habitats in the long term. For this reason the grant is open to any owner or manager of an existing traditional orchard, or existing or new community orchard. If you do not own the orchard yourself, make sure you have the landowner’s permission before applying for the grant.

To apply, you need to be 18 or over and have filled in a short orchard questionnaire on our website. This gives us a better picture of the condition of traditional orchards, enabling more effective, targeted action to restore and protect this priority habitat.

What do the grants cover?

Rootstock and grafting materials

If you can get scionwood for varieties you wish to grow or have old trees in your orchard that you would like to propagate, even if you don’t know the variety, our grant scheme will send you rootstock, grafting para-film tape and grafting wax. See our grafting tutorial here. Grafting is not difficult, but training from an experienced practitioner can be helpful – contact to enquire about professional trainers in your area.

You can take fruit samples to apple days to get them identified and you may find your orchard is already planted with local, heritage or rare varieties. There is guidance on the practical guide pages of the website describing how to select the scion wood (the variety being grafted) and how to graft these to the rootstocks. Rootstock will be supplied in multiples of five. Variety scions can be bought from some nurseries or from the National Fruit collection, or there are a few scionwood-exchange days around the country where you can buy or swap varieties.

The rootstock and grafting kits will be sent directly to you.


Alternatively the grants will pay up to £20/tree for fruit trees on a vigorous rootstock. Trees can be pruned into a standard or semi-standard form. Again, we encourage you to consider getting local or heritage varieties for your orchard which may be better suited to growing in your area, and would be help to secure their future. Apple days are a great place to discover and taste interesting and local varieties. You might need to request suppliers to graft your chosen variety onto vigorous rootstock for you. This will be done in winter when the trees are dormant, and will be grown on for a year before being sent to you for planting. This is fine under the grants scheme

If applying for trees, we will contact you by email to confirm your application and let you know the maximum outlay that can be recovered from PTES.

Both the rootstock and trees options will be for vigorous rootstocks only, with a few exceptions, as they provide better and longer-lived habitat for biodiversity. For apple trees this will probably be either M25 or MM111, Kirchensaler or pyrus communis for pears, Brompton or myrobalan for plums, damsons or gages, and F12.1 or mazzard for cherries. Seedling rootstock is also acceptable.

How many trees should I apply for?

Our grants will cover up to four fruit trees per quarter acre of orchard (10 per quarter hectare), with larger orchards being assessed on a case by case basis. This equates to roughly half the trees required to fully stock a traditional orchard at a ten metre spacing. We encourage new community orchard applicants to seek match funding. 

Work out how many trees you want to plant or have space for. Unpruned, standard trees can grow to four or five metres, or double that for pear trees, though it is possible with a bit of pruning work to restrain the height (semi-standard form). They should be planted at the very least seven metres apart. They might look tiny when you put them in but overcrowding can lead to increased pest and disease problems and poor performance as less air and light reaches the developing fruit. We recommend walking round your orchard and mapping out where you would like to place your new trees before applying, so that you know how many you can accommodate.

Below is a list of suggested suppliers to source trees from for this grant. They offer good quality trees and a wide range of varieties, including trees on rootstocks that form full size trees. If you would like to use a supplier who is not on the list please ask them if they supply vigorous rootstock trees, and then contact us before making your purchase at for verification. To keep the postage costs down and enable our funds to go further please try to buy all your trees from one supplier, although we understand that this is not always possible.

There are lots of old and interesting varieties available, so be adventurous.

IMPORTANT: Although we only fund trees on vigorous rootstocks, there are a few minor exemptions such as exceptionally vigorous apple tree varieties that can be grafted to MM106, or medlars being grafted to Quince A as there are no available alternatives.

How do I apply for the grant?

1. Make sure you have completed the orchard questionnaire so that your orchard has an ID code. It is important for PTES to account for the grant funds we award and to see where we are having an impact. Please do not apply for a grant until the land is registered as an orchard, even if there are currently no trees, and you have the orchard ID code.

2. Complete the grant application form with details about yourself, your orchard and how many trees you are applying for. You can fill in the form online, or download, print and post it back to us.

3. We will send you a confirmation email of your application.

4. Await an email confirming whether your grant has been successful. The grants pot is quite modest and we receive a lot of applications, so you may only get a portion of what you have applied for.

5. If you are applying for rootstock and grafting kits, these will be sent directly to you.

6. If you are applying for pre-grafted trees, you will need to place your order with a suggested or approved supplier and pay, and then send us the receipt. We will then reimburse you either through direct bank transfer (send us your account details with the receipt) or by cheque.

7. Let us know when you have planted your trees and which varieties you planted so we can update our records. 

+ Tree suppliers

The suggested suppliers below, in no particular order, produce good quality trees and a wide range of varieties, including trees on rootstocks that form full size trees. However with thousands of varieties in existence, you might find that the variety you would like to plant isn’t in their listings. Most of the nurseries below will also graft trees to request, so you can get whichever rare, local or heritage variety you like as long as graft material can be sourced. Please contact us at if you would like to use a supplier that is not listed here. Please try to buy all your trees from one supplier, as this will keep the postage costs down, enabling our funds to go further.

Keepers Nursery – specialist fruit tree nursery with over 600 varieties. This includes hundreds of varieties of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees, as well as more unusual fruit trees such as quince, medlar and mulberry. The website also offers a vast range of online information on hundreds of varieties of fruit trees, useful means of selecting suitable trees, as well as valuable advice on growing fruit trees.

Tom the Apple Man – All types of fruit, available on standard rootstock. Specialises in West country and Welsh varieties. Specialist pruning and management advice available.

Walcot Nursery – Located in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire they offer a wide selection and to assist customers in making their choice in planting fruit trees. All are dispatched bare rooted from late November until April while dormant. The fruit tree nursery has been established to grow organic fruit trees for sale suitable for all situations from small gardens to traditional orchards.

Welsh Mountain Cider – Stock an extensive range of heritage and modern apple and pear varieties. They have hundreds of types of apple and pear trees available; cider apple trees and perry pears, heritage dessert and cooking apples and pears from around the world, including Welsh apples, Somerset, Devon, Herefordshire and Yorkshire apple varieties, and locally collected Welsh apple varieties exclusive to their Welsh Mountain Tree Nursery.

Adam’s Apples – Adam and his wife Kim have been running their nursery in the heart of Devon for over 20 years. They grow a wide variety of high quality apple trees, whilst also growing other fruit trees and fruit bushes, apples remain their specialty.

Endsleigh Gardens Nursery – specialise in grafting and growing a wide range of fruit trees including the almost forgotten, and now popular, Tamar Valley Apple and Cherry varieties

Cider Apple Trees – About 100 varieties of cider apple trees available and 50 eating and culinary varieties. Also plums, pears and damsons. Specialise in supplying standard apple trees.  07765 771184/07733 412185 or email

Grow at Brogdale – Fruit tree nursery based at the home of The National Fruit Collection in Kent with over 2,200 apple varieties; 500 pear varieties and 300 cherry and plum varieties. They specialise in rare and heritage varieties and can supply hand grafted trees to order as well as bare-root trees. They also offer more unusual fruit trees such as quince, gage, medlar and mulberry.

Deacons – Supply over 350 different varieties of Apple tree, plus an extensive selection of other fruit trees such as Plum, Pear, Peach, Nectarine, Cherry and more.

The Heritage Fruit Tree Company is helping to save our fruit tree heritage. Experienced orchardist Andy Howard, supplies over 200 varieties of high quality heritage fruit trees including apples, pears, cherries, plums and other top fruit and soft fruit.

Days Cottage – Day’s Cottage propagate old and unusual varieties of apple and pear trees, specialising in local Gloucestershire varieties. Many of these have been bought back from the brink of extinction.

Bernwode Fruit Trees – You will not find a larger range of rare fruit trees ready to take away, all container grown and ready to plant now. Free advice on all aspects of growing. 

Dolau-hirion Fruit Trees – Situated in the picturesque Towy valley near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, they sell Welsh apple varieties and pear trees including a range of cider and perry types, and traditional English fruit trees suitable for growing in Wales including plums, damsons, gages, cherries, mulberries, medlars, hazels, bush fruit etc. Grafting service for apples and pears not in stock.

Frank P Matthews – Established in 1901 and based in rural Worcestershire, they grow over half a million fruit and ornamental trees every year, with over 200 different varieties of apple and many well-known and unusual fruit trees.

Lodge Farm trees  – A small nursery growing and selling traditional and rare varieties of   fruit trees. They have been working closely with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust and are currently propagating old rare apple, pear and plum varieties originating from the Gloucestershire area, some of which have never been commercially available before.

Plants and apples – A family business, rooted in Perthshire. Appletreeman propagates and sells hardy, heritage and Scottish fruit trees.

South Lakeland Orchard Group – trees available by collection, ask for MM111 or M25 rootstock trees.

What next?

Your young trees will need to be planted and protected from anything that might nibble them, like rabbits or deer. Rabbit proof tree guards can be bought inexpensively online, or you can construct a barrier against larger animals. This could be anything from a wire fence supported by posts, to three wood pallets tied together around your tree. If your orchard is grazed, heavy duty stock guards will be necessary. Whatever fence you construct you should be able to get to the tree easily enough yourself to carry out maintenance such as weeding around the base of the tree, or formative pruning.

These grants are being awarded on a first come first serve basis, so don’t delay.

We’ll take down this webpage when the funds have all been allocated.

Let's keep in touch...

We'd love to tell you about our conservation work through our regular newsletter Wildlife World, and also how you can save endangered species through volunteering, taking action or donating. You must be 18 or over. The information that you provide will be held by People’s Trust for Endangered Species. For information on how PTES processes personal data, please see our privacy policy.

People's Trust for Endangered Species, 3 Cloisters House, 8 Battersea Park Road, London SW8 4BG

Registered Charity Number: 274206 • Site Design: Mike Leach Creative at Waters • Branding: Be Colourful

Copyright PTES 2024

- Enter Your Location -
- or -