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How to prepare ground for planting trees

Planting a Tree

At buy-trees-online, we are often asked how to best prepare ground for planting trees. Many people might have seen Monty Don dig huge pits on Gardeners' World and backfilling the tree with compost and bucket-fulls of water. All seems a bit like hard work really!


The trees on our nursery are designed in an entirely different way and professionals can plant one in less than a minute! The key is the tree's root plug. The big trees which Monty has been planting were grown in round tubs for extended periods and so are susceptible to become pot bound, where the tree roots swirl round and round inside the tub, eventually strangling the root system. The tree tends to be a few feet tall, meaning that this root system also needs to get enough nutrients and water to sustain a good size of tree. All of this means that planting big trees can be risky and so you need to do as much as possible in ground preparation to give the tree a chance of survival.


Not so with our easy-plant root systems. We keep our trees small so that there are maximal roots in proportion to the tree. We also grow the trees in specially-designed pots to prevent the tree becoming pot-bound, using air-pruning techniques to ensure that the roots are ready to burst out the bottom of the root plug once it's planted and give great establishment.
So there's no need to dig huge pits with the plants from buy-trees-online. Mostly, you just need to open up a hole big enough for the top of the root plug to sit 5cm below the surface of the soil and then close the plug up to ensure there are no big air gaps. Cultivation will only really be needed if there is an iron pan deeper in the soil, but this would be rare in garden soils and unlikely to cause huge issues for garden planting.


If you have a few trees to plant, it might be worth investing in a spade specially designed to help plant the easy-plant root system. The planting spear is made in the UK and has a narrow head so that all the pressure of your body is put on the narrow head as you insert it into the ground. The Canadian planting spade is of better quality and has slightly wider foot treads.

 

30 October 2013 at 14:17 / Comment

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