Keep Calm and Plant a Tree
The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways over the past seven weeks. From all of us at Naturally Trees, we hope you are keeping safe and well during these difficult times.
Today, Wednesday 13th May 2020, marks the Government’s lockdown relaxation plan which will allow England garden centres to reopen, and given self-distancing is so important right now, it is the perfect opportunity to spend time in your garden and plant a tree.
Trees are vital and provide so many benefits. As the largest plant on the planet, a tree gives us oxygen, stores carbon, provides a habitat for wildlife to thrive, they create shelter and help to combat climate change.
The first five years of a tree’s life are critical to its long term health, so if you are planning on planting a tree, here are some tips from the team at Naturally Trees. Planting new trees and shrubs is not a difficult job, but in order to give your plant the best start in life, it is important to do it right.
- PREPARE YOUR SITE: Trees won’t grow where the soil has too little air or where soil moisture is either excessive or insufficient. Loosen the soil and dig a planting hole that is no deeper than the roots, but is ideally three times the diameter of the root system.
- WATERING: To ensure sufficient moisture and oxygen are filtered to the roots, proper watering is vital. Young trees require a good amount of watering every day for the first two weeks. The deep watering ensures the growth of strong underground roots and also prevents weak surface roots from forming. Following that, continue your watering on a weekly basis whilst it is still in leaf, and after that, every other week. In the second year, water every two to four weeks during the dry periods. Otherwise, allow the tree to seek water sources deeper underground as this helps to create a resilient tree. During three to five years, give a good watering once per month. Keep an eye out for symptoms of drought and stress among young trees, such as yellowing leaves or wilting leaves or leaves that are beginning to curl at the edges – these are signs that your tree is not accessing sufficient water.
- PROTECTION: If you are planting a young tree or sapling, you might like to consider using a tree guard, cane or stake to aid the tree in the first six to twelve months in case of heavy wind or rain, and to deter wildlife feeding on them. Remember to pull up any grass or weeds that may grow as these will drain the moisture and nutrients from your tree.
- WATERING: Drought stress is common with newly planted trees. Even in a cool, wet summer, soil moisture never fully replenishes by rain alone. The amount of water required will depend on the soil type but typically four to five watering cans per square metre each week in the dry weather will be needed.
- WEEDING & MULCHING: Naturally Trees recommends you keep a vegetation-free circle at least 1.2m in diameter around your tree for the first three years to ensure water supply to the roots isn’t intercepted by weeds. Laying mulch over this circle is really important to help new and sapling trees retain moisture. Furthermore, mulching also assists in controlling the soils temperature which helps to keep weeds at bay. Be careful not to over-mulch as this can create a damp environment which may lead to pests, fungi and disease. Spread two to four inches of mulch outwards from the trunk to as far as the leaves grow outwards.
- FEEDING: At Naturally Trees, we choose slow release fertilisers as they degrade slowly, usually under the influence of soil micro-organisms to release their nutrients and are dependent on soil temperature. Fertilisers do not usually need to be added at planting time but can be used a season after if the soil is poor or to help boost growth.
- PRUNING: With the exception of magnolia and eucalyptus, trim pot bound roots and spread the roots out of bare-root plants to get an idea of their spread. Other than that, our tree surgeons suggest that you avoid pruning your young tree for a minimum of a year otherwise you may limit its growth for the following year. Corrective pruning is best carried out while the tree is young. Once the first year is complete, establish a central leader which will become the main trunk of the tree and then prune out any competing larger branches that may cause imbalance. The aim is to get the tree to grow upwards rather than outwards as this will encourage a good canopy structure. The majority of native trees are best pruned in the winter months, when the tree is in its dormant phase; however it is important to check the instructions for your specific tree. Cherry and walnut trees, for example, should be pruned during summer to prevent sap bleeding. If you are ever in doubt about the best time and methods to use for pruning sapling trees, always seek the professional advice of a qualified tree surgeon.
Need professional help with your young and sapling trees?
Naturally Trees is here to help with a fully qualified and insured service covering all species of trees, from the youngest to the most mature and established. For tailored advice and helpful guidance, please get in touch.
Towns we cover and surrounding areas
Tree Surgeon Hungerford Tree Surgeon Newbury
Tree Surgeon Marlborough Tree Surgeon Basingstoke
Tree Surgeon Swindon Tree Surgeon Reading
Tree Surgeon Wantage Tree Surgeon Winchester
Tree Surgeon Andover Tree Surgeon Oxford