- Shape – how tall and how wide will the mature tree become?
- Appearance? Does it have needles or leaves for foliage? Is it an evergreen or deciduous (leaf shedding)? What colour is the foliage? Will it bear fruit? Will the foliage change colour in the autumn?
- Speed of growth and maintenance – Is the tree easy to maintain? Will it need regular pruning?
- Position – does this tree like sun or shade? Will this tree look good alone or is it better in a group, or as a hedge? Does the tree need a sheltered spot or is it wind resistant?
Planting and caring for themThe best time to plant trees is in early spring or in the autumn, when they have no foliage. It is important to give the roots time to become established.
- Therefore, loosen the soil around them by first placing the root ball in a bucket.
- Dig a spacious hole and improve the soil with the addition of some compost.
- Carefully remove the plant from its nursery pot. If the roots are wrapped in mesh or sacking, only remove this after planting the tree in its hole. Try not to damage the fine hair roots around the root ball.
- Plant the tree at such a depth that the root ball comes to just below soil level.
- Half fill the hole then water generously. Fill the hole with more soil and compost mix, water again and heel well in.
- By tethering a tree it grows sturdy and straight. Place a bamboo pole or stake next to the tree and tie it loosely with string. Don’t tie it too tightly – it must not damage the trunk.
Pruning treesPruning is really not difficult if you use the right tools and follow the best tips. Some trees must not be pruned in the spring because they tend to ‘bleed’ – this can weaken the tree. This goes for birch and Norwegian Maple (to name but two). These trees should be pruned in the summer. You can find more advice per tree type in our gardening advice pages on our website.
Young trees should actually be topped every year. This means pruning the tree into a desired shape by cutting back twigs and branches that grow crossed or through the crown where you don’t want them or have grown too prolifically so are too close to each other.
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