Guides

Aftercare Guide

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.

Watering

The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level.

Soak the ground at least 1 metre in diameter around each tree with enough water to completely saturate the soil. DO THIS EVERY 1-2 DAYS during hot weather, or if there is no substantial rainfall for more than one week. The larger the tree the more water it will need. Please call us if you need further advice.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital that for at least 3 years after planting your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.
3. Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks

Staking and Ties

If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.

Comments

By Graham surtees on 08/06/2016

I bought a large tree from you last autumn and was told that it would be OK to plant it with the netting around the root ball as it would make it easier planting.
How long will it take for the root system to start moving out of the netting and into the surrounding area?

Ps. The tree is doing fine.

By Dr Chris Lee on 08/06/2016

What an excellent collection of suggestions.  Thank you.

By John Campbell on 08/06/2016

All our hornbeam bare root whips planted this spring are very healthy so far and your reminder to water was very timely so thanks for that !

By Ingrid Rushman on 08/06/2016

Thank you, we will follow your advice.
So far our tree looking great, and giving us much pleasure.

By Simon on 08/06/2016

Hello Graham,

It very much depends on species and conditions as to how long it takes for roots to start emerging from the hessian on rootballed trees, after planting. You might expect some to emerge into the surrounding soil within 6 months to a year, all being well, but good establishment can take about 3 years.

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