Planting and Aftercare. These are general guidelines for the benefit of our customers

Planting

Soil conditions.

The soil should not be frozen, waterlogged or very dry at the time of planting.

Planting Requirements.
The hole should be dug to the same depth as the plant was grown in the nursery and wide enough to accommodate the spread out roots. Break up the sides of the hole on heavier soils so the roots can penetrate the soil.

Support and Protection.
Plants over 1m high will need some form of support to hold them secure at ground level. Plants should be held secure against the stake or cane by a plant tie, making sure that it will not rub on the stake or plant. Check the ties are not getting too tight as the plant grows.

Prior to Planting.
Bare root plants should be kept in polythene bags until immediately before planting. Root balled plants should be placed in the planting pit before the bag is removed. All non-biodegradable materials should be removed.

Back-filling.
During back filling around the plant, the soil should be lightly firmed to ensure contact with the roots. As filling proceeds in larger holes each layer should be firmed so the plant is held securely but moisture can still penetrate the soil. Do not mix snow with the backfill material as this can create air gaps.

Pruning.
After planting any damaged or crossing branches should be removed.

Firming after Frost or Wind.
If the roots of newly planted plants are loosened, they should be re-firmed in as soon as possible. Press lightly with the toe of the boot especially around the base of the stem to exclude any air pockets.

Aftercare

Weed Control.

Weeds will compete for moisture and nutrients and should be removed until the plants are established. Mulching materials may be used to prevent re-growth. Care should be taken if using mechanical strimmers or weed killers around the plant as these can often cause more damage to the plant than help it.

Conserving Moisture.
Mulching may be used to retain moisture in the soil. This is achieved by controlling weed growth and reducing evaporation from the soil. Many types of mulch are available, from sheet materials to bark and wood chippings. The ground should be moist and weed free when these are put down. A depth of 50mm is recommended for all bark type chippings.

Providing Moisture.
All newly planted plants need watering. This depends entirely on your soil types and conditions. Plants against fences and walls may be in a `rain shadow' and will still require watering even if it has rained. It is better to water thoroughly one or twice a week than lightly everyday where the water may not penetrate the soil deeply enough.

Protection.
Wildlife, pets or vandals may damage plants. Local circumstances will dictate what sort of protection to use. This can vary from individual plant guards to fencing entire areas

Stake Maintenance.
Stakes and ties should be maintained regularly to prevent damage to trees and shrubs. Stakes need to be checked that they are still firm. Ties need to be adjusted at least once a year to ensure they are not cutting into the stem. As soon as they are no longer necessary stakes should be removed. This is usually within three years of planting.