Give trees a healthy start by preparing your planting site – remove debris, large stones and weeds – and soaking the root ball in water overnight.
Gather your supplies:
• Potted tree of your choice
• Wheelbarrow or plastic sheeting
• Blood and bone or manure
• Garden fork
• Organic mulch
Remove tree from pot. Use shovel to measure the depth of the root ball. Dig a hole twice as wide as root ball and about 10cm deeper. Put excavated soil in wheelbarrow or on plastic sheeting. Add blood and bone or manure and compost to excavated soil, mixing well with garden fork.
Gently tease out any matted or congested roots. Unwind any circular-growing roots and cut off any damaged ones. This will allow the plant to direct all its energy into new, healthy growth.
Stand tree in hole and position in centre, making sure it sits roughly at same level as surrounding soil.
Backfill with a mix of the soil and compost.
Note: Compost enriches soil with humus, enhancing its ability to store nutrients, stopping them leaching out of the soil during rain or irrigation.
Sprinkle a little more blood and bone or manure over soil surface and water well. Top-dress with a layer of organic mulch, keeping it back from tree trunk. Using hands, pat soil down firmly. Water well again to wet mulch. Over the next few months, while the tree is establishing, water regularly.
Tip: In autumn, give trees a deep soak once a week for best results.