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How to plant a tree effectively

How to plant a tree effectively

Planting trees seems more daunting than it actually is, the process is actually straightforward but it is important to ensure you carry out the different elements correctly. In this advice page we will discuss the key factors you need to consider when planting trees.

Tree planting season

The optimum time for planting your trees depends on the type of tree you are planting and the conditions at the time of planting. If planting rootballed or bare root trees, the best time to plant would be from October – December as leaving the roots exposed any longer could have a negative impact on the trees health. In contrast, container plants can be planted all year round but we would still recommend planting in the autumn/winter period as the plants will need less maintenance at that time of year due to the increased rainfall.

Prepare your site

Before you begin planting it is important to check your site and ensure it is going to be a hospitable environment for your trees. If your soil is lacking in moisture or there is too much moisture, trees will struggle to establish or grow. Similarly, if the soil is too compact and there aren’t spaces for the roots to establish your tree will struggle to grow.

To begin with, we recommend loosening your soil deep enough to accommodate for the rootball and wide enough to allow for effective drainage. Using soil conditioners such as Terracottem Arbor can help improve the quality of your soil and aids faster establishment for your trees, especially if the soil in your planting area is not ideal for planting.

The planting process

Once your site is sufficiently prepared, work out your trees rough root lengths by spreading them out. After figuring the rough diameter out, dig a planting hole that will comfortably accommodate the roots but is up to three times the diameter to accommodate healthy growth. Ensure that the sides of the hole are separated effectively before planting your tree by going over them with a fork, this gives the trees roots more space to expand in to as it slowly establishes.

If you are planting a bare root tree, we recommend soaking the roots for around 30 minutes before planting the tree to give them the best chance to establish quicker and grow in a healthier manner. Plants in containers should be watered well before being transferred into your planting hole.

When you are happy with the condition of your planting hole carefully place the tree or shrub inside it but be careful to not push it too deep down as that can restrict airflow to the roots and contribute to trunk diseases. Once the tree has been planted, you may need to consider staking depending on the specimen of tree and how top heavy it is. Next you will refill the planting hole with soil, ensuring the soil is evenly spread in between and around the roots to prevent air pockets from developing which can hinder establishment and healthy growth. Finally, firm the soil gently and add water to complete the initial planting process.

We would recommend installing a tree shelter during the trees fledgling years to protect it against roaming wildlife and adverse weather conditions. The Tubex range is ideal for this thanks to their robust and high quality design for a wide range of tree sizes.

Post planting care

A common mistake many people make is not watering newly planted trees enough, even if you are experiencing higher levels of rainfall after planting, that is generally not reaching the roots and therefore the tree is not getting the nutrients it needs to grow healthily. There is however a fine line and overwatering can also be just as detrimental as drought, you can use watering aids such as Mona Plant Self Watering Tanks or Tree Watering Irrigation Bags to ensure your trees are getting the optimal amount of water they need. Mulching and weeding are also key processes that need to be carried out to allow for healthy tree growth as weeds and other surrounding vegetation can often intervene and take most of the water meant for your tree. Introducing a mulch mat around your planting site is the best way to protect your trees roots as it helps keep the area weed free and also removes other surrounding vegetation, ensuring 100% of the water applied to the planting site makes it to your trees roots.

There are many factors to consider in order to ensure your tree planting project is successful, Gardener Supplies can help with our extensive range of tree planting products which are available to order online now.