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From the blog

Tree Planting Methods

by Libby Polkey

These tree planting methods will help you safely plant your trees.

Pit method

  1. Create a square or round hole in the ground by using your body weight to push the spade into the ground. Wiggling the spade back and forth whilst digging helps to break up the soil, which makes it easier to dig. Ensure that the hole is at least as deep as the spade; it will need to fit all of the tree’s roots, with plenty of room vertically. You can measure this by taking the tree, putting it against the side of the hole, and seeing whether it measures up.
  2. Backfill the hole with the soil which was dug out, making sure to break up any clumps of soil. Next, firm the soil by using your boot or spade to pat down the soil, ensuring that air gaps are pushed out. This is important because holes that are overly aerated can potentially cause the roots to dry out. You can give the tree a very gentle tug to see whether it is firmly planted in the soil.
  3. After planting the tree, install the cane and tree shelter. Stake the cane into the ground.

T-Notch method

  1. Create a t-shape/cross in the ground with the spade by pushing it into the ground.
  2. Push the spade into the first cut to push up the soil. This will create a small open space.
  3. Keeping the spade in the hole, place the tree in the space, ensuring that all of the roots are in the soil.
  4. Pull out the spade from the soil and let the soil fall back into place. Ensure that the soil is pushed back in, using your foot to push the soil back in.

H&S considerations

Whist considering your tree planting methods, there are a number of important health and safety considerations.

It’s important to keep a safe distance away from other people who are planting trees. Awareness of your surroundings helps to avoid injuries or accidents. Make sure to carry the spade safely, by keeping the spade head low to the ground. Whilst you’re working, be aware of any tools which are lying on the ground, as they are a trip hazard, and they may have sharp edges.

Before planting, make sure to pull the cane out of the ground first before planting. When you are planting, be aware of thorns or sharp edges on the trees. To avoid getting injured, wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment). This includes thick gardening gloves for sharp species such as hawthorn, non-snag clothing and protective boots, or shoes with sturdy soles. It’s important to keep a balanced stance whilst planting trees, to avoid falling over or injuring your back muscles. The spade is very solid and has sharp corners, so it’s important not to jump on the spade whilst planting.