Planting a Tree – How to plant

Planting a Tree - How to plant

Planting a Tree

A tree will normally outlive its planter. However, if it is given a good start the planter will be rewarded all the earlier by vigorous growth. Do not attempt to plant a tree in unsuitable soil. The choice having been made, you should assure yourself that you are buying stock of good quality.

Broad-leaved trees (deciduous or evergreen)

These may be purchased as standards, in which the clear stem is from about 2-2.3m (6-7ft). The smaller size is more satisfactory as a rule, and will soon catch up a larger one, which may well have an undesirably spindly stem.

In some instances, when, as in a Japanese cherry, low branching will look attractive, a half-standard can be used branching at from 1-1.5m (3ft).

Have ready a sound, pointed stake long enough when driven firmly into the ground to reach to the point on the stem where the branching starts, also one of the several types of tree ties now available.

Dig or fork around where the tree is to be planted for about an area of a meter (yard) square. Particularly if the ground is poor or heavy, work in some well-rotted compost or peat.

Remove the wrappings of the roots and cut off any that are broken. Dig a hole which will take the root system, as nearly as possible so that when the tree is stood in it, the soil mark on the stem is level with, or just below, the surrounding soil. It is, except where willows are concerned, very bad practice to plant too’deeply. When you have ensured that the planting hole has been dug to the correct depth, lift the tree out and drive the stake well in at about the center of the hole.

Replace the tree, working the roots round the stake so that the stake is as close as possible to the stem. This is easily done if someone else holds the tree in place. If you are working single-handed, loosely tie the tree to the stake.

Work soil carefully among the roots, the fine soil among the fine roots, firming it carefully with the fingers. Then almost fill the hole, frequently firming it by gentle treading. Next water the tree well; when the water has sunk in, lightly fill the hole up. Finally, attach the tie at the top of the stem.


Conifers supplied are usually of a much shorter length than broadleaved trees and seldom need staking. It is most important to disturb the root ball as little as possible. The sacking which binds the ball may be left on until the tree is in the hole. The knot or lacing that holds it is then cut and gently teased loose and left in the hole. If the tree is not absolutely firm, a stout garden cane and strong string should be sufficient to secure it.

Planting of deciduous trees should be done as soon after leaf fall as possible, but may continue until early spring before the buds begin to break.

Conifers are best planted in autumn, when they will make root at once, and be established by spring. It ‘ is less desirable to plant in winter when the roots are for long quite inactive. Early spring is the next best time, for root growth will soon be active. But watering during a spring drought with an east wind is then essential. A mulch is also helpful.

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