How to plant a tree
Posted on January 25 2019
When is the best time to plant a tree?
If your tree is growing in a pot it can be planted anytime throughout the year. Bio-degradable pots can be planted with the tree to avoid disturbing the roots. Plastic, ceramic, terracotta or any other non-biodegradable pots will need to be gently removed before planting. If the roots have been soaked well, the tree should pop out easily.
If your tree is a bare-root (no pot so roots are bare of soil) planting is only done in late autumn and winter. Why? This is when your tree is in its dormant phase so has time to adjust and settle its roots into place before it will focus all its energy on growing new shoots and leaves in spring and summer.
Where do I plant my tree?
Most trees require just three simple things for them to flourish; natural sunlight, rich soil and rainwater. So consider these 3 essentials when choosing a spot to plant a tree.
Choose a place where it will be seen most often. Check out the views from your windows and your favourite area to sit outside, then go for the perfect place so it can be admired every day!
What do I need to plant a tree?
You will need a spade or trowel; a bucket of water (fresh rain water is best) and strong boots and gloves (sensible but optional!) Before you start, soak your tree’s roots for about 30 minutes by standing it in the bucket of fresh rain water.
Planting a tree
While your tree is soaking it’s time to dig! Most trees will appreciate a hole just as deep and at least twice the diameter of its pot. You can slope the sides of the hole slightly so it is wider near the surface. This will encourage new roots to grow into the sides and establish a good spread. Loosen the soil around the sides and bottom of the hole so it is not too compact and improves drainage. Save the soil removed from the hole. If it is hard and clumpy, break it up with your hands or a trowel and leave to the side.
Remove your tree from the water. If it is growing in a biodegradable pot it does not have to be removed. This means your tree’s roots are not disturbed when it is planted. The pot will soften and break down gradually and allow the roots to grow out through the pot’s wall and into the new soil. Remove the root ball from all other types of pot.
Place your tree in the hole. This is your moment to stand back and have a final check that your tree looks just right in this spot. Next check the top of the tree’s soil is level with the ground. If it is too low, add soil to the bottom of the hole and check again.
Refill the hole with the loose, broken-up soil left to the side. It is important to fill all the gaps, keeping it light and airy while also ensuring there are no big air pockets left around the pot or roots. Once the soil is level with the ground, firm it down as you support your tree’s stem to ensure it is really straight. If the level sinks, add more soil and firm down again. The aim is to give your tree a good, firm foundation without compacting the soil too much.
Now water your tree thoroughly, let the water drain through the soil and water again. You want to saturate the deeper soil around the roots to give your tree the very best start. Keeping your newly planted tree well-watered will give it the best start in any garden.