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Planting guidelines

A well-planted tree will grow and prosper more rapidly, and correct planting procedures are not too difficult to master. Below we’ve added our six steps to planting perfection, so whether you’re looking to add shade to a garden with a semi-mature tree or merely want to create a haven for wildlife, our guidelines will set you on your way to growing a tree that’s strong, resilient and healthy.

Preparing the planting hole

Ideally, the planting hole should be at least 1.5 times the diameter and no deeper than the root ball, to give the plant a perfect start in the new and final location. When digging the hole keep the topsoil and the sub soil separate so that they can be replaced accordingly. Remove any material from the hole that may prevent root growth, and loosen the bottom and sides of the hole to make it easier for the roots to establish; this is especially important in heavy soils.

Unloading and preparing the tree for planting

When unloading, trees should only be lifted by the root ball because if you lift them by the stem there’s a high possibility you will cause considerable damage. Remove any plastic packaging or bags from the root ball before planting. Our Air-Pot grown and root balled trees are dispatched wrapped with hessian and wire mesh, but do not remove these as they help reduce root damage when planting. They are bio-degradable and will start to decompose quickly, while the roots grow through the hessian. Untie the head of the tree, and gently tease the branches back into position.

Planting the tree

Lower the root ball into the planting hole. The loose soil in the base of the hole will gradually settle so it is very important that the root ball is not planted too deep. Lay a plank over the hole to show the soil level across the tree pit. Ideally, the top of the rootball should be raised at least 5cm above the level of the soil. Then backfill the hole and firm down the soil, but do not reuse compacted or poor quality soil in the hole. Instead replace it with a high quality plant substrate.


After planting, create a crater of soil above the rootball, roughly 15cm tall and slightly narrower than the rootball circumference (see picture). This will help funnel water into the root ball, without it the water would simply seep into the surrounding soil. In the first few years after planting, trees must be watered. Ensure that the root ball does not dry out and please keep in mind that a tree may need to be watered regularly, even when the weather is damp. If there is a long dry spell, trees with roots that grow slowly may dry out, even in the third or fourth year after planting.


The anchoring of a freshly planted tree is very important and the right system will ensure it has been planted properly. The new roots have to be able to develop undisturbed and movement due to wind can damage new roots. If the trees’ roots cannot establish, the tree will not grow.

Various types of anchoring systems are available depending on the size and weight of the tree. Traditional anchoring systems like double staking have always been, and continue to be extremely successful. If you choose to stake the trees, it is important to use a broad binding that will not strangle the tree. Please remember that the tree stem will thicken in the second year and the binding will therefore have to expand with the stem.

Recently there has been a greatly increased demand for underground anchoring methods like the Platipus anchoring system. These systems are particularly good for anchoring large trees and provide a cleaner, crisper finish by removing unsightly stakes and ties. Deepdale Trees can supply Platipus anchoring systems to be delivered with your order of trees.

Please note:

We will ensure that the trees arrive to site in good, healthy condition. However, as we have no control over the trees, unloading, planting, ground conditions, maintenance or their handling following this we are unable to offer any guarantee on the plants.

Deepdale Trees are expert growers and wholesalers of the UK's finest semi-mature trees and shrubs

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