In 2011 National Gardening Week was first introduced by the RHS, and following half a decade of success it is once again time to celebrate the annual event. It’s now hailed as the country’s biggest celebration of gardening.
All over the UK thousands of people, gardens, culture and heritage organisations, charities, retailers, and groups join in the festivities, and what’s more, you can too!
The team here at Quality Unearthed had some time to think about fun ways that people of all ages could get involved and we decided that a really good way to enjoy celebrate would be to plant a tree. So if you fancy giving it a go, and then watching it grow as the years go by, we have a guide for you to follow. And you never know, you might have your very own treehouse glamping accommodation to offer people, one day! (Best trees for treehouse building are: oak, beech, maple, ash, cedar, hemlock and Douglas-fir).
Plant a tree
It’s the mature trees that are essential for attracting wildlife, and research has revealed that large trees in a garden are indeed the ideal predictor of the overall diversity of creatures in the garden due to the fact that trees have the ability to provide significant amounts of nectar at blossom time, or nuts during autumn. What’s more, they play host to lots of mini-beasts who make their homes under the safety and shelter of the bark when birds coming hunting them for food. So a tree can be a web of life on its own. Try to keep your tree choices native as this will encourage the natural cycle to occur in terms of wildlife being attracted to the same trees as a result of evolution.
How to buy a tree
It’s worth noting that you should try to buy a big tree of less than 3m (10ft) tall. This is because a smaller tree of 1–2m (4-6ft) will be able to form and establish better, and will flourish more impressively in comparison to a larger specimen within just a few years.
Take the time to consider what sort of tree you’d like, how big it will get and the positioning, mainly because it’s going to be there for quite some time!
If you’re not sure about where you’d pick up a tree to plant, you can head to a local garden centre, although a specialist nursery will give you more of a range to choose from.
How to plant a tree
- If you have a bare-rooted tree, ensure the roots are kept damp and plant it as soon as you have it back from where you bought it.
- Once you’re in the garden, mark where your tree is going to be planted.
- Put two stakes in the ground either side of where the tree’s about to be planted. Make sure you get the distance right beforehand.
- Now you need to dig a hole large enough to fit the rootball, while allowing for an additional 8-10 inches down and around the rootball so that the new roots can get a good start in life.
- You’ll need to make some holes and cracks in the wall and base of the hole. You can use a garden fork or something similar to do this, which will open up compacted soil, this is also a technique to help your new tree establish itself better.
- Here’s where the two sticks you used as markers earlier will come in handy. Identify where the tree should go, now hammer a stake in at an angle and ensure it’s facing into the prevailing wind (or in the direction the wind usually blows). You’ll want it to cross the tree around 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.
- Have someone else on hand to make sure the tree is placed in vertically and remains that way while it’s placed in at the correct depth. You can usually check this by referring to the soil mark on the stem with a straight edge.
- Go ahead and refill the hole with the loose soil you dug up, along with some more if required. If you’ve chosen a bare root tree, you’ll have to give the rootball a gentle shake to settle it in.
- Fill the hole with soil and firm it down well with the back of a spade. Sure up your tree by attaching a tree tie to the stake at the stem to prevent the wind chafing the bark.
- You can then water the tree generously to help your new addition grow nicely, while making sure you mulch to stop weeds taking over the space.
- Congratulations! You’ve just planted a tree!