Trees and shrubs are a staple of any garden, adding beautiful focal points whilst helping to reduce our carbon footprint. They provide shade and can improve soil stability whilst creating new habitats for all types of birds and wildlife. Shrubs in particular are also a great way to create borders throughout your garden and can also be used for privacy.
But when is best to plant them?
Well, now is the ideal time to be planting trees and shrubs in your garden. To be more specific, between October to April is the best time to be planting them, although you should avoid planting them in waterlogged or frozen soil. This can be both damaging to the plants as well as to your tools.
Although container-grown plants can be planted at any time of the year, autumn and winter are the most beneficial times because they will be easier to care for due to needing less watering.
Available only in autumn and winter, bare-root and rootballed trees and shrubs should be planted immediately. If this isn’t possible, they can be ‘heeled in’ which refers to temporarily planting them in the soil to prevent the roots drying out, until permanent planting is possible.
One important thing to consider when planting trees and shrubs in your garden is location. This is because they will not grow in areas where the soil contains too little air, or where it has excessive or insufficient moisture.
You can pre-prepare your soil before planting, including:
- Loosening the soil to a suitable depth, typically to the height of the rootball. This should be done over a wide area to help eliminate compaction and aid drainage.
- If the location you wish to plant in is waterlogged over winter, perhaps consider tree species that are better suited to wet conditions. You should also install drainage or create a slight mound around 25-30cm in height. This will help to avoid the tree’s roots from being submerged in too much moisture.
- On sandy or heavy soils, you should improve the soil structure by incorporating organic matter into it. Organic matter includes any plant or animal material, which when returned to the soil will decompose. Not only will this provide nutrients to your plants, but it also binds soil particles, improving its water-holding capacity.
Once your plants are in place, aftercare is a crucial thing. This includes actions such as:
- Watering – Even in wet weather plants can suffer from drought stress because it is not very often that the rain will fully replenish the moisture levels of the soil right down to the roots. You should monitor your plants and water when needed. You can also get watering aids that can assist with this.
- Weeding – Weeds and other vegetation can take in water before it reaches the roots of the trees and shrubs. Keeping an area with a diameter of roughly 1.2m around the plant vegetation-free for the first few years can help avoid this.
- Fertiliser – Although fertilisers are not needed at the planting stage, they can be used a season after planting. If required, they can be used if the soil is poor or your plant is in need of a boost to its growth.
- Corrective pruning – This is best carried out when the plant is still quite young. This could involve trimming away any damaged, diseased, or dead wood. A clear trunk may be desirable, in which case removing lower side shoots may be needed.
When it comes to planting your trees or shrubs, you will need certain materials such as compost and tree ties.
Compost is a soil ameliorant, helping to improve the quality of your soil and promotes better retention of air, moisture and nutrients. Containing organic matter, it helps to improve the structure of your soil and can help your plants be healthier and thrive more.
Once planted in your soil and compost, tree ties will help give the tree support as it grows. Typically made from long-lasting plastic with fastening buckles, they can be adjusted as the tree grows. Spacers can also be used to prevent the stem rubbing against the wooden stake that the tree is secured to.
We hope that you find this information helpful for your garden. If you would like to know more about the products that we can supply, or have a question about planting these, feel free to get in touch and we would be more than happy to help.