Tree Planting

Tree planting in memory of Dr Ken Harbord

Tree planting in memory of Dr Ken Harbord

 

I’m sure that I do not need to preach the virtues of tree planting, and how trees can, if planned properly benefit the environment for ourselves, and just as importantly for future generations.

 

Choosing the right tree for the location is crucial. Far too many trees are planted with no consideration given to their final size. As a result, the trees end up requiring drastic surgery, or complete removal, because they are causing excessive nuisance. In brief, consider the size they will be when they are mature. If you have a small garden, plant a tree with a small mature height and spread. Soil type is also important. Ph, drainage, and nutrient content are all important considerations when choosing your tree. A good rule of thumb is to look around to see what trees are growing well in the area.

 

The size of the tree that you intend to plant is worth considering. A small plant will have a better chance of survival, establish itself and grow away much faster, and cost less than a large plant. However, for that instant effect a large tree will be needed which will have its own special planting requirements.

 

Trees will come either as bare rooted, root-balled, or in pots. The planting season for bare rooted, and root-balled is from early November to the end of March.

 

Potted trees can be planted throughout the year, so I shall describe how to plant these, though essentially the principals remain the same for all trees:

 

  • Dig a pit which is wider than the pot radius, and slightly deeper;
  • Aerate the base and sides of the pit with a fork to help with root penetration. Add a compost, or mulch (such as leaf mould) to the pit to assist with establishment, and water retention;
  • Remove the tree from its pot and loosen the roots if they are tightly compacted;
  • Place the tree in the pit, and rotate it as desired, and ensure that it is as upright as possible;
  • Back fill the pit with soil, ensuring that the eventual soil level is on the same point of the tree as the soil level in the pot. As it is replaced, firm the soil in;
  • If the tree is large enough to require staking, drive the stake into the ground , so that it is approximately two inches from the tree stem. Ensure that the stake does not pass through the root ball. This may mean that the stake should be put at a 45 degree angle. Attach the tree to the stake with a proper tree tie and spacers (not baling twine!);
  • If rabbit or deer guards are required, then consider which type is best for the tree you are planting. They can be spiral plastic guards which wrap around the stem, low tree/ shrub shelters, tall tree shelters (as we have with the hazel plantation), or fencing.

 

Finally, water the tree in well, and ensure that it is kept watered during dry spells throughout the summer. If the tree is staked, check the tightness of the strap after one year and loosen if necessary. Remove the stake when the tree is able to stand alone.

 

by Patrick Stileman

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