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How to plant a happy tree

Although planting a tree is a relatively simple task, there are a few basic considerations to take into account to ensure that your tree starts its new chapter in a happy and healthy way.

First, dig a planting hole which is at least twice as wide as the pot but the same depth. Loosen this soil as much as possible and remove large rocks. If you are planting an advanced tree or in a windy location, your next step is to plant a garden stake into the planting hole so that it stands firm and will give the newly planted tree the support it needs. The stake should be placed in a way that the wind coming from the main wind direction presses the tree against the post, not in the opposite direction.

Be gentle with the roots when remove the tree from its pot and ensure that you untangle the roots adequately so that they do not continue to grow in a circular direction.

Now place the tree in the hole close to the post (if you are using one). The grafting point of the tree (the thickening of the trunk approximately a hand’s width above the roots) should be approximately ten centimetres above the ground when the planting hole has been filled in with soil.

Fill in the hole, tread it down slightly and elutriate it by adding water (approx. 10 to 20 litres) to the roots. While so doing, continually correct the planting depth. Do not add peat or mineral fertiliser to the roots when planting. At best, add a third of compost earth and a handful of agricultural lime to the soil.

If attaching the tree to a stake, make sure to use soft material such as fabric and do not tie it too tightly. Trees need to move slightly in the breeze to encourage strong root growth and branch flexibility. Check the supports monthly and once the tree is established remove the stake.

Native tree species such as banksia, grevillea, melameuca and wattle are all good choices when selecting trees since their size is suitable for most gardens and they stand the best chance of weathering harsh conditions.

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