Season: Autumn

Planting a tree

The process of planting a new tree in your garden needs careful consideration to avoid future problems unforeseen when your sapling becomes a mature specimen. It is often a good idea to note trees that you see on your travels that you like, make a wish list from which the selection can be made. Here are some tips to guide you in selecting a tree

  1. What is your soil type? Many trees have preferences for particular soil conditions including the acidity and moisture levels. For example trees that favour heavy clay soils include Aesculus, Betula, Catalpa, Magnolia and Tilia; whilst chalky soils favour many Acers, Cedrus, Laburnam, Malus and Prunus. Purchase a soil testing kit from a local garden centre to do your own check.
  2. How big do you want the tree to grow to? Many people plant a tree such as a Willow or Eucalyptus and within 5 years have a giant in the garden. Check when purchasing the tree the height it can grow to and the vitality (speed of growth).
  3. What shape do you prefer? Trees can vary in form from rounded to oval, columnar, weeping, conical and spreading. The shape of the tree you choose depends on the aesthetics of the appearance you desire and the width (spread) you wish it to fill.
  4. Evergreen or deciduous? Evergreens retain their leaves and thus can provide visual interest all year round as well as being good trees for screening noise, wind and giving privacy. Meanwhile a deciduous tree can provide summer shade and a range of foliage colours as the leaves grow, mature and fall in the autumn; these trees include the fruit trees that provide spring blooms and food if necessary.
  5. Shady or sunny position? Trees often have preferences for growth in full sun (6hours+ a day direct sunlight) to shade (no direct sunlight).
  6. Distance from Buildings? This is very important as trees can cause immense problems to foundations and services if the wrong tree is planted too close to your home. As a general guide plant trees that are likely to reach 50 feet or more at least 40 feet from your home, medium size trees 30-50ft in height can be approximately 20 feet away. Do not forget to check that the tree will not grow up and into your telephone line!
In planting your tree give consideration to these tips

Buy your tree from a reputable supplier to avoid disappointment. Look et the tree and check that the leaves are in good colour, that the tree looks tidy with a size and form that is in keeping with it being well maintained at the nursery. Inspect the root ball to check it is not pot bound or too dry.

When and how to plant your tree:-

  1. Dig your hole at least 3 times bigger than the container, wire basket.
  2. Loosen the roots and plant in the hole leaving a 2 inch rise above ground level at the root collar (where the stem of the tree joins the root plate).
  3. Backfill with soil and compost if required, then water well.
  4. Stake the tree to support it, drive the stake at an angle to the trunk rather than parallel to it, this avoids potential damage to the root plate.
  5. Apply a mulch around the trunk which will help keep it moist, inhibit weeds and reduce runoff in heavy rain.

Trees are best planted outside of the warm summer months, most planting is advised for the late autumn/winter period. Planting in the summer will require regular watering and monitoring by you.

Ongoing care

Keep an eye on your new tree, this includes watering, mulching, fertilizing and pruning.