How to Plant a Tree

Planting trees needs careful consideration for the implementation processes, tree protection and aftercare/maintenance in order to ensure that they establish and grow successfully. The following information should be read as a general guide for tree planting considerations and should be supported by a Planting Specification and programme based on a site’s specific constraints and relevant planting factors.

A number of the factors to give particular thought to are:

Where to Plant
You need to find a location which will be suitable for a tree in the long term, i.e. take account of the spatial constraints (physical site restrictions) and have a suitable area for the tree to develop [above and below ground] without conflict with existing features (e.g. Buildings, Walls, Driveways, Ponds, Ecologically Important Grasslands/Meadows etc.).

What Tree Species
Once you have your location, you need to choose a suitable species (typically this is undertaken in conjunction with ‘where to plant’). Again, this should take account of the physical restrictions of the site and should choose a species which will be the correct size at maturity for the chosen planting location. You may have different motives for tree planting which will heavily influence your decisions also such as Tree Blossom, Fruit, Autumn Colour, Tree Shade, Tree Screening etc.

When to Plant
Ideally, tree planting should be undertaken during the dormant part of the season, somewhere between November and March. Although, if a considerable effort has been put into the other aspects of tree planting preparations, tree planting can be undertaken successfully throughout the year.

How to Plant
Depending on the type of tree stock which you are planting, the methods will vary although, the nature and methods for planting require great importance on the preparation of the planting site. Preparing the soils and/or digging a suitable hole for your tree is a good start, the tree should be planted at the correct depth, have an aerated and fertilised soil applied, be secured (tree stake and protection) and mulched.

How to Maintain
A newly planted tree will typically take 2-3 years to establish however, some very important factors play a significant role in influencing a tree’s ability to survive and flourish. The correct availability of water, nutrients and de-compacted soils are very important. These should be supplemented by additional watering, mulching around the base, formative pruning, and checking for stability and readiness for the removal of the tree stake(s).

Additional information is available on ‘Tree Planting‘ from numerous sites and relating to recently documented ‘Tree Planting Initiative‘.

Often, the utilisation of advice from a Tree Consultant and Ecological Consultant can be integral to the longevity of the project when taken at an early stage (i.e. Tree Survey and Tree AdviceEcological Assessment and Protected Species Surveys).

If you have undertaken some tree planting yourself, we would like to hear about it: comments, photos and queries to


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