Your tree needs to thrive, so choosing the right planting site and knowing which species will grow in your selected location is crucial. Help is at hand with our tree planting guidance.

Where to plant

Choose your planting site carefully.

  • How big will your tree get? What might it look like in 20, 50, 100 years? Consider possible issues with shading, light levels and building foundations.
  • Are there any possible safety concerns? Are there sewage or gas pipes underground where you would like to plant? Will the tree grow up into electricity or telephone lines and need regular pruning?
  • Let people know about it! Ensure the people who look after the garden or planting area know that it is there, so it doesn’t accidentally get mown down or damaged.

Which species to plant

Choose the right species.

  • One that you know grows in your area.
  • If you have young children or are planting near a children’s play area, consider whether the tree has any fruit that may cause stomach-ache or may be poisonous.

When to plant

  • Plant your tree as soon as you can. Keep it in a plastic bag for 24 hours in a cool, shady position out of the wind.

Planting a tree

Our Countryside Ranger, Steve White shows you everything you need to know to plant your very own tree.

We also have this handy tree planting guide to get you started.

Looking after your tree

Year 1 to 3

  • Weeding - keeping the area around your tree, and inside the guard, weed-free is vital to help give it a good start in life. You could also apply a mulch layer, such as bark chippings, to help keep the weeds away.
  • Watering - to encourage your tree to adapt to natural conditions, and develop deep roots, only water if there is an unusually long dry spell.
  • Mowing - regular grass cutting is not advised near your tree, as it encourages the grass to grow and means more competition for your tree for water.
  • Tree guards and stakes - Strong winds, stray footballs and inquisitive dogs can easily push over the trees and affect their growth. Check they are upright and pushed firmly into the soil.
  • Pests - Pests can cause damaged inside the guard, so check tree stems and guards for damage. Help by keeping the guard firmly pressed into the soil and the area around your tree weed-free.

Years 3 to 10

  • Remove tree guards - When they split or start to disintegrate, remove them. They have done their job and may now hamper growth. We are working on ways we can recycle them, so we’ll keep you updated on this.
  • Pruning - Not essential, but will encourage your tree to grow upwards rather than outwards.
  • Disease - Your tree might be affected by various common diseases, but will rarely kill young trees. The Woodland Trust has further information on tree pests and diseases.

In partnership with

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