Planting a Tree – How to plant


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

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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