Plant in your trees in the dormant season: November to March. Plant any new trees as soon as they arrive to prevent roots drying out. If they have to be left for a few days, plant them temporarily in loose soil to protect the roots. 

Tools and kit needed

  • mulch
  • gloves
  • spade
  • wheelbarrow
  • compost/ fertiliser
  • stakes
  • mallet
  • tree ties
  • mesh
  • watering can/hose
  • water point

Preparation and planting

  • Dig a hole deep enough to hold the root ball, and 1.2m (4ft) wide
  • Loosen soil at sides and base with a fork, especially if soil is compacted (this is to encourage roots to grow out into the surrounding ground.)
  • Pull out and spread the roots
  • Place the root system in the hole, making sure that the root flare is level or slightly above the surrounding ground level (see sketch)
  • Refill the hole with the dug out soil, filling gaps between the roots; firm the soil, do not compact
    Water well
  • Add a 75mm (3”) layer of mulch - e.g. bark around the tree, leaving a 100mm (4”) collar of bare ground around the stem (material here encourages rot)

Staking and tying

  • Using stakes 75mm (3”) diameter and 1.6m (5-6ft) high
  • Use a mallet to knock in 3 timber stakes around the tree,
    outside the roots
  • Each stake should show 1m (3ft) above ground with 60cm (2ft) in the ground
  • Loosely tie soft rubber tree ties, allowing potential to loosen the ties as the tree grows
  • Use staples and a hammer to attach mesh around the stakes to protect the tree
  • Ensure no sharp edges are left exposed

Caring for newly planted trees

Water approximately 60 litres every two weeks for first two growing seasons. Check bark mulch 75cm (3”) deep. Check tree ties and stakes for signs of rubbing on tree, damage to stake or ties, ties too tight, etc. Weed every few months, April to October. Check for vigour and any signs of disease.

Choosing tree species

There are a number of organisations that have comprehensive advice on which species to grow for different locations or purposes. Here are just a few from more popular websites: