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Planting Trees and Shrubs

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Autumn is the perfect time to plant trees. The ground is still warm which allows the trees to settle in before growth starts in the spring. Plants are just going into dormancy during the autumn and shutting down for winter, this places less stress on them, especially large plants like trees as the demand for water is low. There is a huge selection of ornamental and fruit trees available to suit every space from small to large gardens.

1 – Give the pot a good water, so that it is completely soaked. A large pot may need to stand in a bucket of water overnight.

2 – Dig a square hole a little deeper than pot depth and up to three times as wide. Hard, compacted soil at the base should be forked over so the roots can penetrate it.

3 – If the soil is very sandy or a heavy clay, mix in organic matter such as Organic Garden Compost to help it hold water and drain better, but do not over improve the soil, if the roots are too happy, they will not explore outside the hole. Mix in a handful of bonemeal if the soil is very poor.

4 – Tip the plant out of its pot. If the roots are very congested, tease out a few. Sprinkle Rootgrow into the base of the planting hole so the granules are in direct contact with the roots, and pat some more around the damp rootball, this will help them establish more quickly.

5 – Place your plant at the same level it was in its pot. Do not bury the stems. To check this, place a cane or flat object across the hole to see where the soil level is.

6 – Refill the hole by slicing in the soil around the soil’s edge and also back fill with the soil you dug out.

7 – Use your heel to firm the soil around the shrub, but don’t press on the root ball itself. Then water well, creating a puddle before it drains away.

8 – Add a 5-8cm (2-3in) layer of mulch, this will reduce water loss, and help to stop competing weed growth, but leave a 10cm (4in) mulch-free collar around base of stems as it can cause rots to enter.

9 – Top-heavy trees will probably need staking. Wind rocking the tree will prevent the roots from establishing. Hammer the stake in firmly at a 45-degree angle avoiding the root ball. About a third of the stake should be in the ground. Now use a tree tie to securely attach the tree to the stake.

Depending on the size of the tree the stake will need to remain in place for 2 to 5 years. Loosen the tie periodically to prevent it strangling the trunk.

10 – If rabbits are a problem, put a tree guard around the trunk to prevent them from eating the bark and killing the tree.

11 – Trees and large shrubs may need to be watered for up to 2 years after planting particulary during dry periods.

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