National Arbour Week takes places in the first week of September every year. Planting a tree is the best way to mark the occasion. We’ve created a handy tree-planting guide for all those ready to celebrate – and get their hands dirty!
Before you rush out to your local nursery, you should read through our guide on choosing the right tree for your garden. Then, gather your tools and set aside an afternoon to plant your new tree!
Step 1: Give the root ball a good soaking
Soaking the root ball will reduce the possibility of the tree rejecting water from the surrounding soil once it’s been planted. You can leave the root ball to soak while you’re busy preparing the hole.
Step 2: Get digging
The most common question asked about planting a new tree is ‘how big should the hole be?’ Tree roots need space to spread out, and the general rule of thumb is to dig a hole that is at least twice the size of the root ball. As long as the hole is large enough to cover the existing roots, your new tree should be quite comfortable.
Step 3: Enrich the soil
Take the earth that you’ve removed to make the hole and put it in a large bucket or a wheelbarrow. To this soil you should add some gypsum, compost and fertiliser. This will improve the structure and condition of soil, ensuring that it drains properly and contains all the nutrients to help your new tree grow strong and healthy.
Step 4: Decant your new tree
Remove your new tree from its container, keeping the root ball intact and place it into the hole you have prepared. If the roots are extremely matted, you can gently tease them out, but don’t overdo it. Disturbing the roots of a healthy tree may send it into shock.
Step 5: Replace the soil
Now you start packing the enriched soil back into the hole around the roots of the tree. Make sure the soil is firm so it holds the tree in place. If you make a slight well around the base of the tree, it will help to capture water and channel it right to the roots.
Step 6: Add water
Watering a newly planted tree helps to settle the soil and establish the roots.
Spring is the one of the best times to plant a new tree because it has all summer to prepare for winter. However, as the tree has to grow both roots and leaves, it requires a lot of energy. That’s why new trees need more water and care.
Need more advice on caring for a new tree? Keep on eye on our blog for future articles on tree care and tree maintenance.