Perfect weather to get planting
This is the ideal time to put in new shrubs and trees, but don’t buy just anything and plant it anywhere. Trees and large shrubs are major investments in the future of your garden; you should do your homework before you decide on the species and siting of your new tree. Then you need to follow the planting basics to give it the best chance.
At your chosen site, dig a hole deep enough to reach the subsoil, and a metre across. Don’t make it round, as it might cause the roots to circle. A square or irregular shape is fine.
Assuming you’ve discovered a decent depth of topsoil, you then need to check the drainage. Fill the hole with water and see how long it takes to drain away – anything more than about 12 hours and you might need to re-think your tree species. There are trees that thrive in poorly drained soils –melaleucas, for one.
If your soil drains well, break up the subsoil a bit with a crowbar, then check the depth of the hole by putting the plant in and seeing if the top of the root-ball is level with the natural soil level. Back fill a bit if necessary. Hammer in any stakes that might be needed.
Knock the tree or shrub out of its pot (naturally, you’ve watered it well beforehand) and gently tease out the root-ball. Always check the roots before you buy – a pot-bound plant will fail to thrive no matter what you do.
Put the plant in and backfill the hole with the natural topsoil, tamping it down evenly and watering as you go to get rid of air pockets. Tie off to the stakes (if using), then mulch. Wait until you see fresh new growth before you start feeding – it shouldn’t take long!