Jill Butler, Woodland Trust ancient tree specialist, said: "The UK has one of the largest populations of old trees in Europe and plenty have a story to tell. With the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery we aim to draw attention to the wealth of cultural and natural heritage that is reflected by our amazing trees, and remind people they need better care and protection."
Clara Govier, the lottery's head of charities said: "Tree of the Year is a unique celebration of the links between people and trees. It links entire communities to the amazing trees that surround them, and reinforces the importance of giving them better protection."
An independent panel of experts in each of the four countries will choose a shortlist from the entries submitted and the winners will then be decided by public vote later in the year. Each country's individual Tree of the Year will go on to represent that nation in the European Tree of the Year competition, organised by the Environmental Partnership Association.
The charity hopes to improve the chances of a UK tree being crowned European Tree of the Year, after the Major Oak, the highest placed tree in the 2015 contest, only finished in sixth place. Nearly 185,000 people voted in the European competition, with another 20,000 taking part in the UK contests.