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In winter, when deciduous trees are dormant, it is the perfect opportunity to transplant or choose new ones to add to your garden. There are some simple steps you need to take to make sure that your trees get off to a flying start in spring.
Step 1. While you are preparing the planting hole, soak the tree roots in a bucket of water with about ½ cup of seaweed concentrate or fish emulsion.
Step 2. Dig a hole approx. 1m across (so roots can spread as widely as possible). The hole should be around 50 – 60cm deep. Try to keep sides reasonably vertical. Place the removed topsoil in a heap next to the hole and mix aged manure and compost (or our concentrate mix) through this topsoil.
Step 3. Drive a wooden stake into the base of the hole, slightly off centre. If the tree is large, use two stakes (one on either side of the hole). Partly backfill the hole with topsoil and compost mixture, making a small mound in the centre of the hole.
Step 4. Examine the roots of the tree and cleanly prune off any damaged ends. Extra long roots should be shortened to fit into the hole. Avoid bending long roots around in a curve as this can lead to stunted growth.
Step 5. Place the tree onto the mound of soil you have prepared in the hole. Roots should be just below soil level. Spread the roots as widely as possible.
Step 6. Backfill with remainder of your topsoil and compost mix, (shaking the tree so soil filters through gaps between roots) until the hole is full. Secure the stem loosely to the stake. If two stakes are used, stretch a tree tie, twine or length of pantyhose between the two in a figure 8 for a loose but firm fit.
Step 7. Water deeply and add more topsoil if needed. To avoid strangulation, tie the label to the stake rather than the plant.
Step 8. Although it looks servere, you will get a healthier tree by pruning the branches. Remove any weak or broken branches and shorten the rest by half.
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