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Tree Planting Guide

Thinking of planting a tree in your outdoor space? The best time to plant one is between autumn and spring, as long as the ground isn’t frozen or too wet.

Get down to your local garden centre, buy a tree, and then follow our simple step-by-step planting guide to give your tree the best chance at life!

Equipment needed:

Step 1 – Dig a hole

digging a hole

Using a digging spade, dig as hole that is the same depth as your trees’ rootball, but three times the width.

Top Tip!

loosen tree roots

Soak the rootball in a bucket of water and use a digging fork to loosen the roots (if they’re tightly packed), to encourage them to grow outwards into the soil!

Step 2 – Add some mulch (optional)

adding farmyard manure to hole

Using a mulch adds nutrients to the soil. We added a few handfuls of Westland Farmyard Manure to the bottom of the hole and distributed it evenly with a digging fork. Don’t know what mulching is? Find out here.

Step 3 – Position the tree

planting tree

Stand the tree in the planting hole to check that the depth and width are correct. You can place a cane across the hole to check that the top of the rootball is level with the surface of the soil.

Step 4 – Refill the hole

refill planting hole

When you’re happy with the positioning, backfill around the rootball, slightly shaking the tree to allow the soil to settle around the roots. Use your heel to gently press around the rootball to firm the roots and soil together. Fill the hole to ground level, and again use your foot to firm the soil down.

Step 6 – Water and mulch

watering tree

Optionally, add some more mulch around the base of the trunk, to give the soil an extra nutritional boost. Make sure to water the tree well!

Step 7 – Tree stake and ties

hammering tree staketree ties

Insert a tree stake into the soil, for extra support and secure with a tree tie. This holds the base of the trunk and rootball steady, allowing the roots to become well established.

You can also add a tree guard to the bottom of the trunk to prevent small animals from damaging your tree.


Regularly water your tree, especially during dry spells. This is particularly important for the first couple of years, to give the tree roots enough water.

Top up the soil with some mulch a couple of times a year, to ensure the roots get the substantial nutrients to continue growing.

Loosen the tree tie as the trunk gets bigger, you can remove the stake and tie after 2-3 years, when the tree is firmly rooted in.

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