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Technical Information

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General Planting Advice

You could write a book on all the different methods and suggestions on planting (I expect someone has actually). To be honest there is no right or wrong way other than put the roots in the ground and shoots in the air. A lot of planting advice over complicates things and makes it seem harder than it actually is. So here are a few simple tips to help you get your plants off to a good start. If you want some advice about the ways of planting potted or bare-rot plants then scroll down to the bottom of this page where we have outlined a few tips for the different kinds of plants we supply. You can always e-mail us at


  • Never plant when the soil is water logged or if it is raining. If the soil feels too wet and cold then it probably is. If there are puddles on the ground after rain, then it is still too wet. If the puddles last a long time then you might have drainage problems.
  • Never plant when the soil is very dry. It is much harder for one thing, and any moisture in the plant pot or in the roots will be drawn out into the soil.
  • Make sure that the ground is not too compacted or poorly drained. If you are starting a new plot this may mean digging the whole thing over first. If you do this, then add some well rotted organic matter at the same time. Ideal planting soil should be friable (crumbly) with an even tilth (all the crumble the same size rather than clods).


  • Dig the hole just before you want to plant. If you dig it a week in advance there is a chance that it will fill up with water and you will have drainage problems from then on.
  • You donít need to dig a huge hole. Just make sure that the new plant sits in there comfortably and that you have enough space to work in soil around the roots. If you have very poor soil, then you might to dig a larger hole and put better soil back in with the plant.
  • Donít plant too deep. Always plant the plant at roughly the same level of the pot/root system, or where the soil level was before it was lifted. If you plant too deep the plant tends to rot off (there are some exceptions, but it is a good rule of thumb). By all means dig over the bottom of the hole to improve drainage, but add some soil back to get the height right.
  • Add some composted organic matter to the planting soil.
  • Add a little fertiliser to help rooting. Fertilisers come in all shapes and sizes, but a little bonemeal sprinkled around the edge of the planting hole helps root growth. Donít be tempted to add too much as this can have the opposite effect. If in doubt just sprinkle a little bonemeal on the soil after planting and it will work its way in eventually.
  • Back fill around the plant and firm it in without over compacting. This will mean that you donít get a solid layer and you get good drainage. You can use your heel for larger potted plants and bare-root trees but definitely no stamping!


  • Always water in after potting or planting. Let this drain away from the surface and give them some more, just to make sure that there is enough to keep them going for a while.
  • Do not allow the soil around new plants to dry out in their first season. There may be a few plants that produce better crops if the watering is controlled, but most donít respond well to drought stress in their first year.
  • For permanent plants give a feed of bone meal in the autumn, and donít forget the spring feeds to get them going next year.

Some specifics about the plants that we supply

Bare-root Trees

  • Soak the roots before planting
  • Remove any broken or damaged roots with a pair of sharp secateurs
  • Place the tree in the hole then backfill with a little of the planting soil until the roots are covered. Then give the tree a shake up and down. Some of the soil should fall around the roots reducing air spaces. Fill the rest of the hole with soil.
  • Use a stake (or stakes) for the first couple of years to help support the tree. Make sure you adjust the ties every year!

Potted shrubs and trees

  • Compost tends to dry out more quickly than soil so make sure they are moist before planting and keep an eye on the watering in the first few weeks.
  • Some people like to tease out the roots from the side of the pot when planting. I my experience this is unnecessary and damages the roots.

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