Continuing on from Part 1 after the selection and purchasing of your tree we now come to the more 'hands on' part.
The way a tree is planted will depend on a number of factors such as its current size, its shape and form and whether it has been grown in a container or is bare root. These days the majority of trees are purchased as container grown, this allows all year round sales and planting.
When a suitable planting position has been selected all surface vegetation and turf should be removed for an area that is twice the diameter of the trees roots or container. Dig a hole to the depth of a spade and place to one side. As you dig remove all weeds and larger stones. The next step is to loosen the subsoil at the base of the hole. A garden fork is ideal for this job and this will improve the aeration and drainage for the new root growth. Remove all coverings from bare root trees or containers from pot grown trees. Place the tree in the centre of the hole making sure that the planting depth is the same as it was in the nursery or level with the top of the compost in the pot.
Gradually replace the topsoil in layers compacting with your foot to ensure good contact between the roots and the soil.
Until it has developed sufficient anchorage roots the tree will need some temporary support. Avoiding any contact with the roots of the tree drive a wooden stake into the ground at an angle of 45 degrees. To be effective the stake should lean into the prevailing wind. The tree tie attaching the tree to the stake should be at approximately one metre above ground level and to avoid any chaffing or damage to the stem the correct tie and spacer must be used.
To finish unless the soil is very damp or heavy rain is due give your tree a good watering, clear all excess soil, weeds and stones from the site and apply a mulch. The mulch will help to keep the roots moist and avoid weed growth can be an organic material such as composted wood chippings or garden compost. Inorganic mulches include decorative gravel or crushed slate. Direct contact between the mulch material and the trees stem should be avoided.
FACT – the majority of new trees die in the first year because of a lack of water and dehydration.
FACT – thousands of young trees are killed every year due to strimmers removing the bark around the base of the tree.
FACT – with a little care trees will grow faster and healthier.
If the soil starts to dry give the tree a good watering.
Check the stake and tie for stability and any damage to the main stem.
To avoid the tree becoming dependant on the stake remove it within two years of planting.
Top up mulches as necessary to maintain a minimum depth of five cms and a one metre diameter.
Keep the strimmer away and keep an eye or any harmful pests and diseases.
Now the easy bit - watch your tree grow and change its appearance through the different seasons.