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Tree planting tips

Tree Planting Tips

Selecting a good quality tree and planting it well are critical for long term success. Trees that are planted poorly will be slow to develop and are unlikely to reach their full potential. By following the handy hints outlined below, you will give your new tree the best start in life, and the maximise the benefits it can provide to you and the larger community.

Before you plant your tree, make sure that the root ball is free from defects using the checklist below then use the tree planting instructions to plant your tree the right way!

Check the tree's root ball for defects

Check your tree's root ball

A. Kinked Roots


Kinked roots are seen when the stem is sharply bent (kinked) and less that 20% of the root system is present above the defect. Trees with kinked roots are unlikely to be successful in the long term and the best course of action is to find a new tree with a well developed root system

B. Circling Roots


Circling roots are seen when roots have begun to grow around the edges of the pot - Circling roots can be fixed by removing matted and circling roots and ‘tickling’ the rootball so that all circling roots are removed or straightened.

C. Girdling Roots


Girdling root are roots that have circled the planting pot entirely – they stem/root system are compromised and root pruning cannot fix the defect. Trees with circling roots should not be planted, the best course of action is to find a new tree with a well developed root system.

D. Well developed root system


A well developed root system shows no signs of kinking, girdling, circling or matting of roots but is adequate to hold the root ball together so that the root ball does not fall apart when handled.

How to plant a new tree

step 1Step 1. Make sure your tree pit is three times the width of the root ball in all directions – ensure that the edges are not glazed by roughening them with a shovel or crow bar.
step 2Step 2. The planting pit should allow your tree to sit level with the surrounding soil.
step 3Step 3. When filling your planting pit, ensure that the soil is broken up so that no particles greater than 25mm are present.

step 4Step 4. Make a 'well' at the far edge of the planting pit using excess soil from the planting hole.
step 5Step 5. Mulch to the edges of the planting hole to a depth of 75mm and restrict mulch to 10mm over the root ball area, keeping the stem clear.
step 6Step 6. If your tree can’t stand up by itself, install 2 stakes clear of the root ball and in stable ground. Use Hessian strapping to support the tree in a figure 8 pattern about one third of tree height (from the top down).

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