If you are planning some major landscaping work around a newly purchased property, you may want to take a "shortcut" and go for the mature look right away. If so, you should think about buying some advanced trees from a nursery. However, you need to prepare the area very carefully before you introduce them, so that you make the most of your investment. What steps should you take before you plant these trees?
Where to Start
Firstly, ask the nursery to measure the pots that contain the trees. You will want to make sure that the hole you dig is at least twice the diameter and equally as deep. Don't be too precise when you dig each hole and make sure that the sides are not patted down so that they are smooth. This is important to allow the roots to penetrate, as well as to let water infiltrate.
When you receive each tree, make sure that the root ball is relatively moist before removing it from its container. Be careful when taking it out and don't just pull at the trunk. You will need to prise it out and then shave off the protruding roots from the side and the base with a knife. Should you see any branches or roots that may be damaged, prune these as well.
Introducing the Tree
When you place the tree into the ground, the root ball surface should be just above ground level. If not, put some additional dirt underneath first and then add some fertiliser and some wetting agent, which you can get from the nursery. If at all possible, use the soil that you removed from the hole in the first place to pack in the new tree.
Try and create a mound (like a saucer) around the base of the tree. This will help to pull water iton the area and will also help to "toughen" the dirt around the tree.
Next, introduce some mulch and spread liberally around the mound. Do make sure that the mulch does not come into contact with the tree trunk itself though, as this can introduce rotting or disease.
If you live in an area that is prone to high winds, you may want to stake this tree using two or three wooden stakes set well outside the perimeter of the original hole. You should use specially made webbing strips to attach the stakes and be sure that the tree will be able to move to a certain extent in any wind gusts, for flexibility.
Being the Nurse
You will have to spend some time tending to the tree for the first couple of seasons, to ensure that it is well irrigated. This is especially important in the heat of the summer.
If you need any further advice, have a word with the nursery that supplied you with your advanced trees.