Planting Shrubs and Trees – How to Plant Shrubs and Trees

Planting Shrubs and Trees

It is very important, when planting shrubs and trees, to first make sure that they are purchased from reputable nurseries, as you can then be certain that you are getting first-class specimens. A really good tree or shrub will have been transplanted in the nursery before it is sold, and this encourages a fibrous root system to develop.

planting shrubs

It is usually possible to tell when a specimen has not been transplanted as it will have a large tap root and very few fibrous roots. The more fibrous roots a plant possesses, the quicker it will become established.

Planting Times for Planting Shrubs and Trees

Deciduous trees and shrubs can be planted at any time between early November and the end of March, provided the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.

Evergreens, however, are best planted in September and October or during late March, April and May.  As evergreens are never inactive, it is especially important that they should make new roots quickly and so ensure that the loss of moisture through the leaves is made good before the plant is adversely affected. By planting them at the times recommended, the roots should quickly become established, for the soil will still be warm in the autumn and in spring it will be warming up after the winter cold.

Container-Grown Plants

It is possible nowadays to buy container grown trees and shrubs which can be planted out at any time of the year, even when they are in full leaf or flower. The plants are grown in either tin, polythene or bituminised – paper containers while they are in the nursery and they can build up a good fibrous root system so that they suffer very little root disturbance when they are transplanted.

Choosing a Suitable Site

planting shrubs and trees Choosing a site for a tree or shrub needs careful consideration, because once it is planted it will probably remain in that position for many years. It must be placed where it will have enough room to grow and develop naturally, for nothing is worse than to see a specimen plant which has had to be cut back severely to keep it within bounds.

Trees, especially, need extremely careful positioning as they are often used to create a focal point in the garden. A badly placed tree can be most irritating, but one that has been sited carefully can greatly enhance the attractions of a garden. Trees should not be planted too close to the house as they may rob the rooms of daylight and roots of large trees can damage foundations and drains.

Soil Requirements

Knowing how to plant shrubs and trees successfully and where exactly to plant them too can take a little time, but many trees and shrubs will grow on a wide range of soils although there are some that are more difficult to please. I am thinking now of the lime-hating kinds such as rhododendrons, azaleas and many of the heathers. These must have an acid soil, in other words, one that does not contain lime or chalk.

To be absolutely sure that your soil is suitable for growing lime-hating varieties of plants, I would recommend that a soil test be carried out. Soil-testing kits, together with instructions, can be obtained quite cheaply from any good nursery. If the soil test shows a reading of pH 7·0 or over then you must keep to the kinds that do not mind lime. If the result is pH 6·0 or under then you will be able to grow lime-hating shrubs successfully. On a soil with a pH of between 6·0 and 7·0, you may just be able to grow some of the lime-haters if plenty of peat or leaf mould is added. The ideal pH for shrubs other than lime-haters is 6·5 or 7·0.

Preparing the Soil

Once a tree or shrub has been planted, it will usually remain in that place for the rest of its life. The soil must, therefore, be thoroughly prepared before planting as there is little that can be done once the plant is established. I always try to prepare the ground as far ahead as possible of the planting date – at least a month in advance and preferably more. This allows the soil to settle properly and also gives any organic matter, added time to start breaking down into humus, thereby releasing its plant foods.

planting shrubs and trees - how to plant shrubs and trees

Single digging to the full depth of a spade is usually sufficient, but if the soil tends to hold water during wet weather, double digging may be advisable.

Whichever method is used however, incorporate plenty of organic matter, such as well-rotted farmyard manure, garden compost, moist peat, leaf mould or spent hops. After digging I like to fork a slow-acting fertiliser such as bonemeal into the top few inches of soil at the rate of 2 to 4 ounces per square metre. This releases the plant foods over a long period, thereby supplying the tree or shrub with the necessary nutrients. I do not use bonemeal for the lime-hating plants as it contains a certain amount of calcium. If organic matter is not available then a good alternative is a mixture of 2 parts bonemeal and 1 part hoof and horn (all parts by volume) applied at 4 to 6 ounces per square metre and forked well into the soil.

08. August 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Planting Shrubs and Trees, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Planting Shrubs and Trees – How to Plant Shrubs and Trees


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