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how do i plant a tree



The biggest mistakes made in planting trees are :

1. Making a hole which is not large enough. The latest thinking is a wide hole, as all trees need an extensive area for feeding roots, while anchoring roots will grow down through hard soil (though not so easily through heavy rocky soil)

2. Put compost and feed on the surface, don't mix it in with the planting soil as used to be advised. Follow nature's practice, which is a mulch around the trunk. To improve the planting soil, work in friable material and soil lightening materials like sand (if your soil is heavy) or grit.

3. Make sure the tree is well staked, as strong winds will bend a small tree out of position. The stake should be placed at a low angle and fastened low down on the trunk with a proper tie that won't cut into the bark. Remember to remove the tie after about a year and before it restricts the tree's growth. The theory is that you WANT the canopy to move around in the wind as this promotes rooting, but the lower stem needs to be firmly fixed to prevent movement.

4. Remember planting your tree is the easiest part. Keeping it WATERED is the most important thing during the growing season, especially if it is very dry. Don't give lots of little drinks but a bucket or two (a drenching) every couple of weeks.

5. Bare rooted trees planted in the autumn are usually the best bet. They are able to make new roots during the dormant period and get well established before the following spring. Spring planted trees never do as well.

6. Pot grown trees quite often have been standing in a garden centre for some time and are pot bound. The roots are often a dense mass growing around the inside of the pot. If this is the case, gently untangle and break the root ball otherwise the tree will have difficulty rooting properly. Also, the root ball is in compost and you are planting into an ordinary soil, so the tree has trouble adapating from one environment to another. Quite often trees like this take ages to put roots out into the soil.

5 Mar, 2010

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