How to plant a tree – perfectly

Here’s our foolproof guide to making sure you get it right when you plant a tree. 

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Trees are one of the biggest statements in your garden and when you’re planting a new tree, it’s important to get it just right so that your sapling can grow and thrive. Planting a tree is one of the most cost-effective ways to offset our carbon emissions and make our towns and cities just a tiny bit less polluted.
In South Africa, we celebrate Arbor month in September. Each year a common tree and rare tree are selected to be highlighted, and the Trees of the Year for 2014 are Lavender Trees or Laventelbome (Genus Heteropyxis) and the White Ironwood or Witysterhout (Vepris lanceolata), so if you’re thinking about planting a tree, why not take a look at these indigenous beauties?
Whether you’ll be planting these or other trees, it’s important to remember a few basics when adding trees to your garden.

Water young trees slowly, deeply and regularly for the first few years. Replenish mulch and feed with a balanced fertiliser (2:3:2 or 3:2:1) in Spring and two or three times during the growing season.



  1. Dig a hole twice the width and just a bit deeper than the bag the tree is in. Divide the soil into two equal heaps on either side of the hole. Add to the right-hand pile: compost equal to half the amount of soil and a handful of bonemeal or superphosphate. Return a third of this mixture to the bottom of the hole.
  2. Place the tree in the hole, ensuring that it is at the same depth as it was in its container. If not, add more of the removed soil. Fill the hole with the remaining soil from the right-hand heap. Firm down well.
  3. Now use the soil from the left-hand heap to form a basin around the tree. Mulch the area in the basin, but leave space around the stem. Water deeply. Stake the tree with a firm, upright stake and tie loosely (in a figure 8) with a soft tree tie.

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