Shade, height, structure and interest are all offered by planting trees and the range that can be chosen from is wide. Flowers, fruit and foliage are the three main attractions and many trees combine more than one of these features.
Essentials: * Spade and fork * Watering can * Sledgehammer or post driver * Organic planting material * Tree straps and ties * Tree stakes * Fertilizer * New trees
Before planting, one of the most important points to consider is the ultimate height and spread. To get this wrong can mean that in a few years your choice may have grown too large for the position, blocking out light or causing an obstruction and killing off existing plants or making it impossible to establish further plantings in the area.
Soil preparation must be thorough to help the tree to establish quickly.
First, dig a planting hole 1m (3ft) across and 50cm (18in) deep keeping the top 25cm (10in) of soil by placing it to one side of the hole on a board or sheet of strong polythene.
Next dig over the bottom 25cm (10in) of soil removing any large stones or hard lumps and add one or two buckets of organic material. This can be well-rotted farmyard manure, garden compost, spent mushroom compost or a proprietory planting mixture.
Organic material and a general fertilizer should also be added to the removed top 25cm (10in) of soil.
Before planting, dip the roots of bare-rooted trees in water ensuring they are kept moist at all times. Water containerised trees thoroughly after planting.
Plant bare-rooted trees at the same level as they were on the nursery, this is normally indicated by a dry soil mark on the stem. Containerised trees should be placed so that the soil in the pot is just below the surrounding soillevel.
Where necessary stake the tree using a stout cane or short 3.5cm (1in) round stake which should be no more than the height of the lower branches (approximately 1.2m (4ft).
Position the stake on the prevailing wind side (normally west) as this will reduce the chance of damage being caused by the trunk rubbing against the stake. Insert the stake as close to the trunk as possible between the roots and ensure that it is firmly driven into the ground.
Use plastic or rubber tree ties with spacers to hold the tree firmly away from the stake. From time to time the ties will need checking and loosening to prevent the tree from being strangled. (Stakes should be removed after the second or third year.)
Now fill in around the roots with soil and lightly firm. Level off with the surrounding soil and water thoroughly.Feeding and watering
Each year, in mid to late Spring, add a dressing of general fertilizer.
If planted in grass, keep a 1m (3ft) square or round area of cultivated soil clear of weeds or grass.
In the first two years keep well watered, particularly in dry weather.