Top Tips for Tree Planting!

When it comes to planting trees, whether they be replacing the existence of a previous tree, or whether it be to create new woodland areas or to add a  bit of life to new build housing development; before planting there’s always a variety of elements to consider before planting.  

Places to be considered before planting: 

Before planting any trees, it is wise to consider the following items in order 

to avoid a short/ restricted life span for the trees to be planted.  

– Are there any utilities above or below the ground that will effect the  

tree/ will be effected in the future? 

– Is there a potential for any views to be obstructed, or will it have an  

effect on safety sightlines? 

– Will it be in too close proximity of already existing trees/ vegetation  

that it will cause suppression? 

– Will it be in too close proximity of buildings/ infrastructures? Will it  

cause subsidence of buildings in years to come? 

– Will it be in too close proximity of roads/ footpaths? 

– Is there easy access for maintenance to be carried out? 

– What are the soil conditions like? 

– What is the current land/ heritage? 

What tree species will you plant? 

When moving onto what species of tree to plant. It is important to remember five things: 

1. Your intention. What are you wanting to achieve from planting? 

2. The sourcing. Where will you get the tree(s) from? Will they be from a nursery? Before planting it is important to check on the trees previous biosecurity and  plant health.  

3. Size. What size tree will you plant? It is important to consider what size you will plant in respects of what it will cost, how you will transport them to site, the  impact and the aftercare it will need. 

4. Root stock. Like everything has its pros and cons. Will you consider bareroot, root-balled or container-grown? 

5. Selection of species. What is the current tree community/ diversity? What are the characteristics of the tree you want to plant as well as the characteristics of  the site location? Will you choose evergreen or deciduous? What species flourishes with the soil conditions of the site location? What maintenance will the  species need? Is the climate conditions suitable for the species to be considered? What is the likelihood of pests and diseases? 

Your step-by-step to planting a tree: 

1. Dig a hole for the tree as deep as you can. 

2. Remove the container or hessian from the base of the tree. 

3. Before planting, consider any formative pruning (within BS3998 2010 guidelines) if it is required. 

4. Once planted in the ground, backfill with the soil and gently compact with a stake and tie.  

5. If allowing for wind movement, use x2 stakes either side and rubber ties. (Optional) 

6. Add a 1m circle around of the tree of bark mulch with a depth of 5-10cm. 

7. Water! 

The UK planting season is October- March. Avoid planting deciduous trees when in leaf. 

What aftercare will be required for newly planted trees? 

The aftercare provided for newly planted trees in its first few years is very important. It is important to  

remember that: 

– Regular watering is must! 

– Remove any weeds and grass that have grown within the tree pit. It is important to do this by hand.  

– Check the stakes and ties. Do they need readjusting?  

– Assess the overall health of the tree. Does it have any broken/ damaged/ crossing branches? Is formative pruning required? – Keep the bark mulch levels within the tree pit topped up if possible. 

– Do not strim too close to the base of the tree! It’ll cause damage and have an effect on the trees vitality.  

What is the best way to water my tree? 

Ideally, watering for newly planted trees, like any plant, should be carried out either in the early morning or of an evening. If the tree has a watering pipe, then half of  the water should be poured down the pipe and the other half on the ground surface. Or, if the tree has a watering bag then the water should be poured into that.  

Where possible, it is best practice to use sustainably sourced water. For example, rainwater is always a good source, however bath water and washing up water is also  good to use. Finally, it is important to remember that it is good practice to ensure the newly planted trees are watered for their first three years of life in the ground after  planting.

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