How-To Guide: Planting a Tree

Blossom Lady
Apr 19, 2021 04:00 AM
How-To Guide: Planting a Tree

To give your tree the best start in life, it is worth making sure it is planted correctly. It is not a difficult or time-consuming job, and will pay dividends in the long term. The key considerations are providing the right conditions, making sure the roots have plenty of room to establish themselves, and protecting the tree from adverse weather or animal damage that may hinder its growth. Here are 5 simple steps of planting a tree and some timely advice to help you on the go.

Container-grown trees are best planted between mid-spring and autumn, but the more economical bare-root trees can be planted in winter. This must be done on arrival, and they should be planted in the same way as container-grown trees. All trees need deep, well-drained soil with ground around it that is plant-free, to reduce competition. Trees will provide a long-term feature in gardens, but in order to keep them healthy they do need after-care. Young trees, like any new plants, must be regularly watered until established, but they also require protection against adverse weather conditions. Stakes prevent trees being blown over or the stems snapping in high winds, while some frost-tender species may need covering with horticultural fleece when frost is forecast. Country gardeners may also need to protect young stems against bark-stripping pests such as deer or rabbits.

Timely Advice

1) Water well

Let the potted tree stand in a bucket of water for 1–2 hours prior to planting, then water it thoroughly after planting. It is essential to water regularly while the tree is establishing itself, particularly in hot, dry weather.

2) Protect the trunk

If you have animal visitors to your garden such as rabbits, it is advisable to protect the young bark by covering it with a layer of chicken wire, plastic netting, or a spiral tree guard.

3) Check stakes

Check tree stakes are securely anchored in the ground and have not shifted after periods of bad weather or high winds. If so, hammer it back into place immediately. After two or three years the tree should be sufficiently established for the stake to be removed.

Step 1. Prepare the planting hole

How-To Guide: Planting a Tree
Position the tree where you would like it to be, then dig a hole about three times the diameter of the pot and one and a half times the depth of the root ball. Put
a layer of well-rotted manure in the hole.

Step 2. Check the level

How-To Guide: Planting a Tree
Plant the tree at the level it was in the pot for the best start. Place the pot in the hole and lay a cane across it to check the depth. Pierce the sides of the hole with a fork to encourage a stronger root system.

Step 3. Prepare the tree

How-To Guide: Planting a Tree
Carefully remove the tree from its pot – this is best done by laying the plant on its side first. Gently tease out the roots, taking care not to break up the root ball in the process.

Step 4. Planting

How-To Guide: Planting a Tree
Position the tree in the hole, so its best side is on view. Backfill around the
tree with multi-purpose compost and the topsoil you removed earlier. Firm the soil down gently, ensuring the tree is upright.

Step 5. Stake and secure

How-To Guide: Planting a Tree
Young trees need staking to protect them from wind damage. Position the stake at a 45° angle, hammer into the ground, then attach to the tree with a tie. Water well then mulch with chipped bark. That's it!
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