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How to plant a tree: a step-by-step guide


The autumn and winter months are generally considered the best time to plant trees as there will be less impact from transplant stress.

It also gives them plenty of time to establish a strong root system ahead of the growing season.

Providing temperatures are above freezing and the ground isn’t too hard or waterlogged, conditions from September right through to March lend themselves well to tree planting.

This fool-proof guide will ensure your tree gets off to the best possible start in its new home.

Equipment list:

How to plant a tree:

Step one:

Before you start, it’s important to consider the eventual height and width of the tree you are planting so that you can choose an appropriate spot in your garden.

The RHS offers a useful guide to help determine the potential size of trees and plants depending on species.

Step two:

Dig a square hole that’s around two-three times wider than the pot your young tree came in and about the same depth.

Use a fork to loosen the soil around the hole and ensure it isn’t compacted.

Whilst you’re digging, it’s worth removing the tree from its pot and standing it in a bucket of water so that its roots are nice and damp when planted.

Step three:

Throw in a few good handfuls of biochar Tree Soil Improver to the hole and spread it around with your hand.

Remove the tree from the water and loosen the rootball, using your hands to unwind any roots that have become caught, gently rub a couple more handfuls of biochar into the rootball at the same time. This will encourage them to grow into the soil.

Step four:

Place the roots of the tree in the hole you have dug, ensuring that the top of the rootball is level with the soil. This is essential to the future success of the tree.

You can use a cane or piece of wood to check the level is accurate before proceeding.

Step five:

Refill the hole using a mix of the soil that you dug out and more biochar Tree Soil Improver. The total amount of biochar needed will depend on the size of your tree but can be calculated using our handy guide.

Ensure there are no gaps between the roots and the soil/biochar mix – air pockets can cause roots to rot and die, so this step is vital.

Step six:

Water well. Then, add a layer of biochar Tree Fertiliser around the outskirts of the tree and, over the top of that, add a further layer of mulch.

The mulch will help the soil around the tree to retain moisture for longer, giving your tree the best possible start. Plus, protects the microbes in the biochar mix from the sun’s UV rays.

Step seven:

If your tree is top-heavy, or if it’s in a spot that is exposed to the elements, it’s worth adding a stake to give it some extra stability whilst it’s growing.

Place the stake into the ground firmly at a 45-degree angle, then attach to the trunk using a tree tie. We recommend opting for adjustable ties so that they can be tweaked as the tree grows and flexes.

Step eight:

Your tree is now planted, but that doesn’t mean that your work is over. Trees are particularly vulnerable during their first year, so be careful to water them thoroughly during this period, particularly during dry spells.

To give your tree the best possible start in life, check out our specialist range of tree-planting products.

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Carbon Gold Biochar products being used in soil

Category: Guides

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