PLANBTING TREES AND SHRUBS

Techniques for planting trees and shrubs`

Loosen the soil generally to eliminate compaction and improve drainage;

Improve background fertility by incorporating fertiliser, organic matter and lime;

Ideally, assess the need for lime with a soil pH test;

Improving the soil for a wide area (2-3m (6½-10ft) around the tree) is best practice;

If soils are waterlogged over winter consider installing drainage, or an alternative is to plant on a slight mound, about 25-30cm (10-12in) high and 1m (39in) in diameter;

Excess moisture can kill the finer roots, which become blackened and sour smelling;

Wet roots are more susceptible to disease, especially Phytophthora.

Dig a planting hole that is no deeper than the roots, but is up to three times the diameter of the root system;

If the sides or base of the planting hole are compacted, break the soil up with a fork before planting;

With container grown plants, the top layers of compost should be scraped away, and the point where the roots flare out should be near the soil surface;

Insert stakes as required. Short post or gate post system;

Place the plant in the planting hole;

Planting too deep is a common cause of tree death. Aim to plant at the same depth that the tree was growing in the nursery;

Refill the planting hole carefully, placing soil between and around all the roots to eliminate air pockets;

There is little evidence that adding extra fertiliser and organic matter to the planting hole helps; in fact this practice can hinder plant establishment as the organic matter decomposes and may cause the plant to sink;

There is also less incentive for the roots to grow out into the surrounding soil;

Firm the soil gently, avoiding compacting the soil into a hard mass;

Tie to support;

Apply a mulch;

Apply rabbit guards if required.