The gardener's guide to nurturing new trees

Baby tres need lots of love to get big and strong. Here's some ways to give them a fighting chance.

The gardener's guide to nurturing new trees

Getting started on planting

  • If the root ball has a burlap cover, you can leave it on and just pull it back a little. Other root-ball covers are non-biodegradable and should be removed altogether.
  • Place the plant in the hole, then stand back and look it over. Make sure the stem is straight up and down and that the prettiest, fullest side of the plant is most visible.
  • Rotate the plant around in the hole and level it with a little soil under the root ball as necessary.
  • Fill the hole three-quarters full. Then tamp the soil with a wood plank or the back of a shovel and irrigate the hole with water.
  • Let the water soak in, and finish filling the hole with soil.
  • Add extra soil to build a shallow water-retaining "saucer" at ground level. Then water the plant thoroughly once again.

Add a protective collar around the base

To make sure your new plantings get a good start, they need a little protection and support. Here's how to make a protective collar that keeps your little tree safe:

  • Start by purchasing some flexible perforated plastic drainpipe.
  • Cut 10 centimetre (four inch) diameter pipe into 60 centimetre (24 inch) lengths.
  • Slit each piece down one side and gently slip one around the base of each sapling.
  • The pipes protect the trees, and the perforations allow air to flow through to the covered bark.

Stake a young tree loosely

  • Don't tie your new tree too tight: letting the wind sway a newly-planted tree helps strengthen the trunk.
  • You'll be doing your transplants a favour if you keep the support stakes low and the support wires or ties loose. Keep the ties just tight enough to stop the tree from toppling over.
  • Remove the stakes after the first year.

Little trees need a lot of attention and care before they turn into beautiful centrepieces. But with the right protection and nurturing, they can flourish.

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