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.
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.