Planting trees

Planting trees

The planting season

The planting season for trees starts as soon as they begin to drop their leaves in the autumn and ends when the new buds begin to swell in the early spring. Exceptions to this include a number of specific circumstances:

  • Planting does not take place if the ground is very frozen.

  • Planting does not take place if there is a lot of snow.

  • Planting does not take place if the ground is so saturated that water collects in the planting hole.

  • Planting does not take place if there is a risk of structural deterioration of the soil.

Planting trees: not too high, not too low

After the planting hole has been prepared and any soil improvement carried out, the tree can be planted. The trunk of the tree should be wrapped in jute, after which the tree can be lifted using a sling around the root ball and trunk or a root hook. The tree should be placed in the planting hole with the top of the root ball around five to ten centimetres above ground level. This is because the soil in the planting hole will sink a little, particularly in the case of heavy trees. The tree will sink with it and will end up standing lower than the planting height.

It's better to plant a tree too high than too low. Trees that are planted too low have a high chance of being deprived of oxygen, which in turn is linked to root rot and dieback. Since the roots of a tree grow to just below ground level, planting too high is not desirable either. Trees that are planted too high dry out easily, since the roots end up sticking out above ground. Adding a little mound of extra soil to cover the roots can also lead to drying out, as the water flows off the mound during irrigation.

Filling a planting hole in three steps

Once the tree has been placed in the planting hole, aeration first needs to be installed, particularly in the case of paved soil and soil with a lot of organic material, such as peat. This aeration is necessary to ensure oxygen reaches the roots. Once the aeration has been installed, the planting hole can be filled.

  1. The planting hole is first filled a third of the way up and this soil is pressed down. Make sure that no organic materials, such as sods, end up in the planting hole, as these materials remove oxygen.
  2. The planting hole is then filled three quarters of the way up and the wire attached to the root ball is detached at the top. If there is a wire close to the trunk, there is a risk that the tree will be pinched at this point when it begins to get thicker.
  3. The planting hole can then be filled completely and pressed down again. Never remove the wire around the top of the root ball before the tree is placed in the planting hole, as the risk of the root ball collapsing is too high.
Protecting the tree trunk

Protecting the tree trunk

For species with a thin, smooth bark that are planted in a sunny location, trunk protection is usually necessary during the first phase after planting. Beeches, limes, hornbeams, pagoda trees and common maples are particularly sensitive to sunburn, resulting in the bark coming away from the trunk. This can be prevented by wrapping the part of the trunk that is free of branches in jute after planting. After a few years, this jute will have disintegrated and the tree will have developed resistance to sunburn. The spread of the crown will also have increased, casting more shadow on the trunk.

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