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Planting a Tree

Types of tree to plant

Trees come in all shapes and sizes, so once you have decided on a variety that you like, try to find a mature specimen to look at, or at least a picture to give you an idea of eventual height and spread. A good starting point is to look at what is growing well in other gardens in your area.

Don’t worry if you have a smaller garden – you can still grow any number of suitable sized trees. Japanese Maple, Sorbus, Prunus, Malus, Birch or Cotoneaster are all suitable if space is at a premium.

What you need to get started:

  • Your tree of choice
  • Garden spade
  • Garden fork
  • Gloves
  • General fertiliser
  • Tree stake (approx. 60 to 90cm)
  • Tree tie
  • Mallet
  • Bag of manure or rotted garden compost

How to plant your tree

  • Prepare the planting site by removing any perennial weeds and roots and digging deeply.
  • Dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate the roots and deep enough so that the tree can be planted to the same depth as it is in the pot or to the soil mark on the trunk.
  • Fork over the base of the hole, so that the soil is loosened to give the roots a head start.
  • Apply a base dressing of fertiliser to the hole and gently mix it with the soil.
  • Get someone to hold the tree whilst you put the stake in place, banging it in at an angle of 45 degrees to the trunk, with the top facing the prevailing wind.
  • Back fill the soil around the tree’s roots, mixing it with some blended stable manure or garden compost to improve the soil if necessary.
  • Gently firm the soil down around the roots and add the rest of the soil to the correct level.


Completing the job

  • Firm the soil with your heel around the base of the trunk so that the tree is secure.
  • Put the tie on, making sure that the plastic ‘spacer’ is positioned between the trunk and stake to prevent rubbing. Secure the tie so that the buckle end is on the stake rather than the tree trunk, again to prevent the bark rubbing.
  • Water the tree well – whatever the soil conditions – to settle it in and top up with more soil or mulch around the base.

By planting through the autumn, your tree will establish its root system through the winter and be ready to grow away next spring to give years of interest in your garden and a home for all sorts of wildlife.