Select and prepare your site
- In windy locations, consider using tree shelters or panelled fencing to shield the saplings.
- Where rodent or deer attack is likely, suitably high shelter tubes or fencing should be used.
- Choose species to suit your soil conditions, see our fact sheet for each species. A good indication of what grows well is to see what is already visibly doing well in your area.
- Saplings are available in 20-90cm sizes according to species. Very often smaller sizes will establish faster but may need more weed control in the first few years of growth.
- To prepare the soil for hedges, dig a trench at least 30cm wide and 30cm deep along the length of the proposed hedge line. Remove any large stones and weed roots, especially perennial weeds.
- Infill with improved soil using compost as necessary. For individual trees, clear an area of 50-100cm diameter of grass and weeds. For best results, dig the area to at least 30cm deep and 30-50cm diameter and add compost as required.
- If the soil is heavy clay, take care not to create a solid basin at the base of the trench or hole. It may be necessary to improve the drainage further.
Now you’re ready to plant
- Cell grown trees can be planted all year round but for best results plant when the ground is moist and the weather mild. Avoid planting in dry and hot periods of the year and in the winter months if the ground is frozen.
- Ensure sapling roots are given a good soaking before planting.
- Dig a hole sufficient for the plug root. Avoid compaction in heavy soils, insert the sapling and firm down with your heel whilst ensuring the plant remains upright.
- After firming in, make sure the plug root is covered by 2-3 cm of soil to prevent drying out and becoming loose in the planting hole.
- Water regularly through the first year after planting and until saplings are well established. For a hedge, a good way to ensure your hedge is kept well watered would be to install a soaker hose.
Remember to weed and care for your trees
- Manual weeding.
- Organic mulch each winter for the first 3 to 4 years.
- Periodically inspect for signs of stress, vermin damage, insect invasion or disease.
- Remove any new weed growth.
- Wear and tear on shelters, stakes and ties.
- Fence breakage.