You can of course plant it yourself – in which case skip down to the rest of this guide!
You can also of course hire a professional to handle the planting for you. Whether this is dedicated tree surgeon or a general gardener/landscaper, then use the same common sense you would in hiring in any professional. Research the options in your area and choose a well-established contractor and/or one with excellent reviews.
Baby trees, known as planting stock or saplings, will be available in a range of types, which are detailed below. It should be noted that it is a good idea to select trees grown from seed native to your area. This will give the trees the best chance of survival, as they will be from stock acclimatized to the local weather conditions, pests, etc.
- Bare Root Transplants – The cheapest and most wildly available planting stock. Essentially a small sapling with free roots, it is the easiest type of tree to plant. They are also the most fragile and, unless carefully handled during planting, the most prone to failure.
- Cell Grown – Are saplings grown from seed in small plastic cells or trays. More tough and hardy than Bare Root Transplants, they still need care and attention. They are particularly suited to surviving dry conditions however, making them more suited for planting during warm weather.
- Whips – A larger tree, a whip is essentially a larger version of the Bare Root Transplant. Being larger, it has more chance to survive planting and will already have a somewhat mature root system. It is however more expensive than it’s younger option. By virtue of being much larger, it is also harder to move and plant than it’s smaller brother.
The typical planting season avoids summer all together. Drying out is the greatest danger to a young tree, so planting should take place between November and March. A Cell Grown tree, being more resilient to dry conditions, can be planted successfully in April and even into May.
If planting into grassland or soil that is generally wild or covered in weeds, simply dig out a patch for your tree & remove as much weed and other growth as possible. Depending on the type of tree you have decided to plant will determine any specialist soil preparation. This can extend from mixing in composts or other tree foods to setting a level of gravel or small stones to help drainage.
Ask the tree suppliers for further information that is relevant to your selection. I personally use a local company, check them out at http://www.alanstree.com and feel free to get in touch and ask questions, they’re cool and agreed to have their website address to be shared here.
So, there are two methods to plant a tree by hand, they are:
Notch Planting – Use a spade to excavate a T shaped slit in the ground, with the topsoil being rolled backwards. The tree is then planted into this slit and the soil gently rolled back and tamped down. This is the fastest method of planting a tree. This method works best for small trees or if you have a lot of saplings to plant, as you don’t need to dig over the topsoil – merely peel it temporarily to one side.
Pit Planting – better for larger trees but more work that notch planting! Essentially, this involves digging a hole, placing the tree root system into it and replacing the earth. A better option for larger trees with already established root systems.
Follow these steps and you will have planted a tree, congratulations! For aftercare tips, refer to the supplier of the tree itself, as different trees require different levels of watering protection from inclement weather, etc.