Trees sold in containers (pots and bags) can be planted at any time of year, with spring and autumn being preferential to high summer. Rootballs can only be planted from November to March. There is a separate guide for information on planting bare root trees.
To plant you will need a stake, tie, compost, lump hammer and spade.
1. Remove all weeds and grass within a metre of your desired planting hole, then dig a hole as deep as the pot/rootball and approximately 2x as wide. Some authorities believe a square hole is better as it encourages the roots to grow straight as opposed to around inside the hole. Loosen the soil in the bottom.
2. Remove the pot and place the tree in the hole so that it is upright and the surface of the compost is flush with, or slightly raised above, the soil level of your site. You should not remove the hessian bag or wire cage from a rootballed tree, though you may wish to untie the knot at the collar. If your soil is poor it may be advisable to sprinkle mycorrhizal fungi around the rootmass, to improve establishment.
3. Mix the planting compost (or homemade compost), 50:50 with the soil removed from the hole and use the mix to refill around the tree, firming gently but firmly. Remove excess soil, do not bank the soil up over the collar or graft union of the tree as this can cause rotting and be fatal.
4. Place the stake at an angle to the tree to avoid penetrating the rootmass and knock in until it is firm, ensuring the top of the stake is adjacent to the tree. Tie the tree firmly to the stake using a tree tie. We advise using a buckle tie as this can be adjusted if required and has a spacer to avoid the stake chaffing the tree.
5. Container trees carry sufficient nutrients to last the season but growmore or similar fertiliser may be sprinkled around the base of the tree if required.
6. Unless it is winter and the tree is dormant, give the tree a generous soaking of water by pouring it directly at the base of the tree. If you’re planting in spring or summer, continue to water well and regularly for the first few months. If you’re planting in autumn, you may only need to water a little. Make sure to keep an eye on young plants and increase watering if there are extended periods of hot or dry weather.
To check if the soil requires further water, dig a finger down into the soil, a few centimetres, and if the soil feels even slightly moist, it does not need further watering. If it feels dry, water and repeat this test again. See individual product pages for species specific watering requirements.
7. Keep the area free of competing weeds, grass and other plants for the first couple of growing seasons.
8. The stake should stay in place for approx. 12 months, after which time it can be removed.
Video On Planting A Containerised Tree
Video On Planting A Rootballed Tree
Video On Using A Tree Tie