How to Plant and Care For a Tree
Planting a tree isn’t a difficult task, however if you want to make sure your tree has the best possible start in life, it’s important to get it right, and to care for the tree properly afterwards.
When to plant:
Between October and April - do not plant trees in summer; the heat can damage or even kill them.
Trees will not grow if…
• The soil is so compact it doesn’t contain enough air.
• The soil has too little nutrients.
• The soil is too wet, or too dry.
To prevent these problems, you should:
• Loosen the soil in and around where the tree will be planted. This will encourage air to move through the soil, and improve drainage (which will stop the soil becoming too wet).
• Use fertiliser and organic matter to add nutrients to the soil, and if necessary, lime (you can find out if you need to add lime to the soil with a soil pH test, that you can get at most garden centres).
Planting your tree:
• Unless the packaging says differently, remove all containers and wrapping.
• Spread the roots of the tree to see how much space the tree will need.
• Dig a hole that is the same depth as the roots, and around three times their width.
• Place the tree in the hole.
• Carefully fill the hole with soil; be sure to place the soil around all of the roots so that there are no air pockets.
• Gently firm the soil, but not so much that it becomes compact.
• Young trees should be watered regularly. Before watering check the moisture levels of the soil - a houseplant water meter can tell you whether soil is too wet or too dry (don’t rely on how moist the surface of the soil feels - the soil around the roots of the tree could still be very dry).
• Ideally you should water your tree early in the morning, or in the evening.
• To help prevent weeds, avoid planting anything else within a 4ft diameter of the tree.
• Any weeds that do appear should be removed with weedkillers, or ideally, by hoeing.
• Placing mulch around the tree can also help to prevent weeds, however you should leave approximately 4 inches of space around the stem, to prevent the mulch from rotting the bark.