Notes on Planting
Season: from early November until late March for the early leafers or early May for the late starters. In mild districts, early season planting of evergreens may have some advantage, whilst in very cold exposed areas spring planting is probably best; on the other hand, during the mid-season period trees have achieved complete dormancy, which enables them the better to withstand being out of the ground during handling and transit. On the whole, the precise time (within the overall six month planting season) of moving trees is not of so much importance as is sometimes believed - but the weather after planting (particularly approaching and during spring, and even during the first summer) can have a considerable effect on the establishment of newly-planted trees.
Receiving Trees: if the weather is open, take advantage of it and plant immediately; if very wet or deeply frosty, trees may be safely left in our packing for a fortnight; if a longer delay is unavoidable, due to hard weather, unpack in a frost-free outbuilding and cover roots with damp soil, leaf mould, granulated peat, or even sawdust or sacks - and keep damped. If trees are purposely to be kept for a time before planting, heel in as soon as possible - i.e. dig out a trench with a rather sloping side, lay the trees against this, well cover the roots with soil, and tread firm; trees may be safely kept heeled-in for weeks, or even months, during winter. When planting has been delayed for any reason, or if the roots appear dry, stand the trees with their roots in a bucket or trough of water for an hour or two before planting. Do not leave trees lying about with their roots exposed - and certainly never if it is frosty or conditions are very dry.
Method: do not plant too deeply (the point where the uppermost roots leave the stem should be only just below the soil surface), make sure the roots are not cramped or doubled up, but spread out as naturally as possible; work fine soil among the roots, fill in the hole, and tread very firmly; if the trees are tall, or the situation exposed, stake firmly - if in doubt, stake. Planting while there is a slight crust of frost on the ground is perfectly feasible, but do not waste time, and do not bury frosty soil. We have available much more detailed printed planting instructions for trees, shrubs and hedges and these are included with any tree or shrub Order Acknowledgement. You will also find them on our website under ‘Useful Stuff’.
Manuring: Very often not necessary, except that the addition of such materials as leaf mould, compost, or very old farmyard manure is always beneficial as a surface mulch. Remember that overdoing the fertiliser application can often do more harm than omitting it altogether, conifers, particularly, resenting any farmyard manure in the root zone.
After-Planting Care: Make sure the trees are firm - if not, re-tread, or stake without delay. Keep the ground immediately around the trees free of weeds by hoeing, handweeding or the use of mulch mats (see page 111 under Sundries) - continue with this for as long as possible and anyway for a year or two. If the first spring/early summer is very dry, give a really thorough soaking, and then mulch thickly with grass cuttings, leaf litter or straw, which will also keep down weeds. In dry spells, be prepared to assist with watering in the first season or two. After one or two years’ growth, loosen and re-tie staked trees, or remove stakes if the trees have settled in really firmly.
Guiding Rule: When handling trees at any time, remember the roots are the important part; they supply the tree with moisture, feed it, and support it. Look after the roots, and the top will look after itself.
Plant Handling & Planting Instructions: Loads of useful information about receiving your parcels, what to check, what to do upon receipt; how to plant, how to stake, how to nurture the plants, how to plant a hedge and so forth.