Friday, April 25, 2008
Roots to success: How to plant the perfect tree
By Rob Sharp
Friday, 25 April 2008
* "Anything you plant could be there for decades or centuries," Paul Underwood, the head gardener at the National Trust's Blickling Hall Gardens and Park in Norwich, says, "so give them room." Avoid walls, buildings and places that might have extensive foundations and underground cabling.
* Tailor the tree to your "microclimate". Are you in a "frost pocket" – a low-lying area that encourages frost – or a coastal area, which might receive salty spray?
* Consider the season. You can buy either "container-grown", "root-balled" (roots bound into a bundle) or "bare root" (simply dug out of the earth) trees. A container-grown sapling can be planted later in the year. Juvenile trees establish their roots quicker, but older – and more expensive – purchases have an immediate visual impact.
* Browse before you buy. Check out the tree's health. The mass of roots should roughly equal the mass of leaves and stems.
* Before planting, think about whether you'll need a stake to support the tree when growing. Small stakes allow trees to develop good anchor roots, but a more expensive, loftier support might be required in the windiest of sites.