Steps for planting a new shrub or tree
- Dig a hole twice the size of the pot the plant is in. This ensures that the soil you are planting into is loosened up for the newly developing roots of your plant.
- You can dig in organic matter to make sandy soils richer and more water retentive, and to make clay soil more open. However, avoid digging organic matter deeper than 200mm. Below this depth, the organic matter has trouble breaking down and can actually slow plant growth.
- Place the plant in the hole, level with the existing soil surface. Do not cover the trunk with soil as this may lead to rot, and do not leave roots exposed as this may lead to drying out of the root ball.
- It is a good idea to build up a watering bowl around the plant using left-over soil. This directs water into the root zone when plants are being watered.
- Mulch around the plant, but not up against the tree trunk - this can lead to collar rot and insect attack. Mulching is an effective method of reducing water evaporation and helps to keep the root zone cool in summer.
- Water the new plant in well and continue to water at least once a week (more often in summer) until the plant is established. Water when the soil feels dry under the mulch.
Tree planting safety tips
When planting a tree, make sure that it is not going to interfere with:
- Overhead services
- Street lights
- Traffic hazards
- Pedestrian safety
- Underground services
Other considerations when planting a tree
When planting a tree you also need to consider:
- The likely size of the tree when mature
- It's proximity to footpaths, fences and buildings
- Existing soil conditions
- Existing street trees and vegetation