How to plant a tree

There is nothing more satisfying than planting a tree and watching it grow over the coming years. Follow our steps below to get your tree off to a good start. 
 

Time required
60 minutes
Level of expertise needed
Beginner
How to plant a tree

Equipment


  • Tree in a container
  • Bucket
  • Watering can
  • Spade and fork
  • Stake and tie
  • Tree guard or spiral
  • Mulch (organic matter like chipped bark)

Top tip!

It is important to understand the eventual height and spread of whatever tree you plant - check labels or look for free information on our website. The best time to plant is between October and April.

1
Step 1

Step 1

Dig a hole three times as wide as the pot and the same depth. Loosen the soil around the hole with a fork.

2
Step 2

Step 2

Thoroughly soak the root ball in water before planting - standing it in a bucket is good for this.

3
Step 3

Step 3

Loosen the root ball to encourage roots to grow into the soil.

4
Step 4

Step 4

Place the root ball in the hole so that the point where the roots meet the trunk is level with the surface of the soil surface.

5
Step 5

Step 5

A piece of wood can be useful to check the level.

6
Step 6

Step 6

Refill the hole ensuring there are no air pockets around the roots. Firm the soil around the tree making sure the stem remains upright.

7
Step 7

Step 7

Use a tree guard or spiral if your garden has wildlife visitors who may want to nibble the bark.

8
Step 8

Step 8

Water well. Add a 5-8cm (2-3in) layer of mulch but leave a 10cm (4in) mulch-free collar around base of stem.

9
Step 9

Step 9

Top-heavy trees will probably need staking. Put the stake in firmly at a 45 degree angle - use a hammer to make sure it's secure.

10
Step 10

Step 10

Now attach a tie to your tree to support it in windy weather. Garden centres can show you how to do this when you buy it.