Take care of your newly planted trees and they will thrive for years to come.
Looking after your new garden tree
Watering: After planting, water your new tree well (making sure the water reaches the roots below). Collect rainwater in a bucket or barrel to use in your garden. For the first summer, water twice a week when the weather is hot (once a week if cooler). If your soil easily waterlogs, don't overwater as this causes oxygen deprivation.
Mulch: Placing organic material around the tree base will help retain water and provide nutrients.
Mowing: Strimmers can be lethal to young trees - don't get too close.
Tree support: Ties help keep the tree upright, but make sure they are not too taut as flexing of the tree encourages root growth.
Pruning: Only prune after the first year if branches are torn or broken (to prevent disease infecting your tree), otherwise leave until the second or third year.
Looking after your school or community tree pack
Weeding: Trees supplied in our free tree packs are saplings. You can water them but weeding in spring and summer is most important (unless there is a very long, dry spell in which case watering is advised too). Weeds compete for moisture and nutrients, so keeping the base of each tree clear will give the best start possible.
Check tree guards: Saplings make tasty treats for rabbits and other mammals, so ensure tree guards are firmly pushed into the soil. When the trees are well established (3-5 years), remove guards so they don't restrict growth.
Looking after your new wood
Weeding: Chemical-based products containing Glyphosate will kill weeds without harming wildlife or the wider environment. Spray around the base of each tree to create a weed-free ring approximately 1m in diameter. You can do this yourself or pay a contractor – please contact our woodland creation team on 0845 293 5689 if you need advice.
Alternatively, place non-chemical mulch such as bark chips, squares of old carpet, mulch mats or straw bales around each tree to block out sunlight and suppress weeds.
Watering: Your trees will adapt to the natural conditions of your site so watering shouldn't be necessary; especially as it encourages shallow root growth rather than down towards groundwater. If there is a particularly long dry spell and you do want to water, saturate the ground thoroughly to ensure it percolates (or soaks) deep into the soil.
Mowing: Mowing is not advised as it actually invigorates grass growth and increases competition for moisture. If you do want to mow, take care to avoid damaging the guards and trees.
Check tree guards: Strong winds can blow trees over so make sure guards, canes or stakes are all upright and pushed firmly into the soil.