Monday, 25 October 2010

Planting Bare Rooted Trees

Make planting hole bigger than root area of tree. Top soil (top layer you first dig out) in separate pile from subsoil (harder and poorer in quality). Fork up the base of the hole (it allows water to drain and roots to penetrate soil).

Place tree in hole, there should be enough room to spread out roots and it should be deep enough bearing in mind that you need to plant the tree in a slight dip, surrounded by raised edges for watering purposes. If a stake is required, work out best position so that it won’t interfere with the roots.

Remove tree before driving in the stake.

Spread a layer of manure in the base of the hole. Cover with 15cm of topsoil. Place the tree back in the hole and spread out the roots. Prune any broken roots back to healthy tissue, taking care not to damage the small fibrous roots. Plant the tree at the same depth as it was planted before – there will be an obvious soil mark on the bark.

Mix a couple of handfuls of bonemeal and some manure into the topsoil. Backfill around the roots, shaking the tree to settle the soil. Firm the soil with your foot to exclude air pockets, and tread the surface around the tree down into a dish shape so that water does not run off before it has time to penetrate the soil.

Water well after planting to settle the soil around the roots. For the first season keep the soil in the vicinity of the roots well watered and spray the foliage to prevent the tree from drying out and wilting.

Use a strap and pad to hold the tree firmly to a timber stake. A short stake tied at a height of 60cm will allow the tree to move in the wind while the root is held steady. The movement will thicken the tree trunk so that after a short time it will be able to stand without support.

Bibliography: RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening

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