We are always happy to offer advice over the telephone or to visitors to the nursery. We have information sheets to read and download. Please read our frequently asked questions and look at the glossary of terms if you are unclear about any descriptions we use.
Successful Tree Planting
Follow the 3 steps below to ensure you get good results. If you would like any further advice or help, please do ask. We have many years of experience and are always happy to advise.
1. Select plants of appropriate type and size for the planting site conditions. Many plants we offer will succeed in most situations but the following should be noted:
- If the site is near the sea then you will need to be more careful in selecting suitable plants
- Rhododendrons will not grow on chalky or lime rich soils
- Yews, box, olive and vines should not be planted on wet ground
- Plant in reasonable soil. If the soil is poor then mix in some tree planting compost. A small amount of well-rotted farmyard manure or compost could also be used, but do not add too much. Make sure any additions are mixed in well with the soil.
- Plant at correct depth. Do not plant too deeply.
- Ensure that trees, larger shrubs and conifers are securely staked. Do not drive the stake through the rootball. Poor staking will result in the tree rocking in the wind and will prevent it being able to root into the surrounding soil, leading to the tree dying. Please ask for our detailed instructions for staking methods.
- Firm in well to remove any air pockets in soil
- Water in well after planting
Control weeds around base of plants. Ideally create grass / weed-free zone of 50 to 100cm diameter around the base. This will avoid the need to mow around base of tree - but if you have to use mowers or strimmers, take care not to damage the bark at the base of the tree.
If you follow the guidelines above, your plants will have the best start and should achieve good results. However, being natural, plants are all different and occasionally may struggle to get established. If you are concerned about the plants, please contact us for advice. Don’t wait and hope the plants get better as by then it may be too late to remedy any problem. We are always happy to give advice over the telephone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you deliver to us?
Yes. We deliver smaller plants and accessories UK wide. For larger container plants we deliver throughout central and south east England. See delivery areas for further details.
Do you offer a planting service?
Yes.We offer an expert planting service through our contractor. Please contact us for a quotation.
Do you guarantee your plants?
We help find the right plant for your purpose and we guarantee that plants supplied are healthy, fit for purpose and true to name. However we cannot be responsible for plants failing due to factors beyond our control. See Plant Replacement policy for full details.
What is the best time of year to plant?
In general the best time to plant is in the autumn or spring. Container grown plants can be planted at any time of year but it is best to avoid planting during the height of summer when the plants are actively growing and will require plenty of watering. For bareroot and rootballed plants, the planting season runs from mid November to late March when plants are dormant.
I want to plant a tree what should I consider?
- How tall would you like the tree to grow to ultimately? We group trees into three broad categories - small (up to 10m ultimately) medium (10-20m) and large (20m plus) but within the small category some can reach only 5 or 6m.
- What size tree do you want to plant? Are you looking for a fairly instant impact or happy to see it grow? We supply trees 150-200cm tall that can usually be collected in a car, or larger trees 3.5m plus.
- Consider access to the garden, what size pot you can handle easily?
- The site – is the soil chalky, sandy, clay, or loamy? Is it in sun or shade? And is it windy or a coastal location.
- What do you want from a tree – Screening? Autumn colour? Spring blossom? Shade? Wildlife benefits? Do you want to grow your own fruit or nuts?
I want to plant a hedge what should I consider?
- Do you want an evergreen hedge or not? Is security important? Do you want wildlife interest? Flowers?
- How often do you want to prune it and what height do you want to maintain it at?
- Quick growing hedges may need pruning more than once a year.
Can you suggest plants for screening?
Yes! And it depends on what you want to screen. Do you want to totally screen an unsightly view? Or just soften a view of building? Consider whether you want screening above a fence line or to create a boundary at vehicle or pedestrian level. If you are looking for evergreen screening there are several options in addition to conifers - evergreen shrubs such as Laurel, Bay and Elaeagnus or standard trees with a clear stem and a crown above fence height such as Holly, Evergreen oak, evergreen Magnolia, or Photinia Red Robin. Please ask us for advice for screening options for your situation, you may wish to email photographs or bring them to the nursery to explain your requirements.
What distance should I plant trees / hedge plants at?
- Trees – take into account the ultimate spread. Consider large trees can be placed 10-15m apart, medium size trees 7-10m, and smaller trees 5-7 m apart, however this depends on what you wish to achieve, trees for screening can be planted in a staggered line alternating front and back to give each tree more space but still achieving the desired screening effect; some standard trees can be planted as close as 1.5 – 2m apart to achieve like a ‘hedge on legs’ effect. Trees can also be clumped together in a group, where the crowns may eventually grow together. Trees can also be planted densely for impact but with a view to thinning them out as they mature.
- Hedge plants - This depends on what size you buy the plants and how quickly you would like the hedge to be established. We recommend 5 plants per metre spacing for bare-root native hedges. Evergreen shrubs such as laurel or conifers could be planted 2 or 3 per metre at the smallest sizes or 1 plant per metre for the larger plants, we can advise on spacing for different species. Small shrubs such as Buxus can be planted at 3-5 per metre.
Will the tree need staking?
- For plants over 1.5m tall it is advisable to stake them for the first two years while they establish their root systems. The important point is to stop the plant rocking as that will break off the small fibrous roots as the tree gets established. Ask for advise on staking for particular plants and see our Tree Planting method information sheet.
When can I plant my trees ?
- Bareroot plants should be planted within 7 to 10 days and can be left in the bags in a cool but frost free building during this time until planted. The roots should not dry out (be moist but not too wet). If it is not possible to plant within this period the plants should be taken out of their bags and “heeled in” (cover the root systems with soil or compost to prevent them drying out, this can be done in the ground or in a large pot, plants can be left in bundles as supplied until planting individually).
- Container plants can be left for months during the winter although are best planted within a couple of weeks during the summer, always make sure the rootball does not dry out.
- In the winter plants can generally be planted as long as the ground can be dug, ie when the ground is not frozen or flooded. As long as there are no ice crystals in the soil and the pot is not completely frozen it is fine to plant in cold weather.
How often do I have to prune a tree?
- Young trees can be formatively pruned to obtain the shape required but this has often already been done in the nursery prior to purchase.
- Pruning may not be necessary at all, it may only be necessary to prune to remove dead, damaged or crossing branches of an established tree.
- Some trees are better not pruned – those in the cherry or birch family for example have free flowing sap which makes healing a pruning cut slower. Try to find a specimen that will reach the height required without pruning.
- Apples and pear trees can benefit from pruning to maximise fruit bearing. Only prune plums on a sunny dry day in the summer, as otherwise they are susceptible to silver leaf which is spread by water splash.
- Trees which are also used as hedge plants such as hawthorn, hornbeam and field maple or evergreens such as Photinia Red Robin or Prunus lusitanica can be pruned successfully as trees.
- If trees are overgrown and substantial pruning is required it is best to consult a qualified arborist.
- Shrubs that flower are generally pruned after flowering.
How often do I have to water newly planted trees and shrubs?
This depends on how free draining the site is, and the species of plant. During the first spring and summer trees may require watering 2 or 3 times a week, depending on the weather.
What are your opening hours?
Monday to Friday 8.00am to 5.00pm
Saturday 8.00am to 4.00pm
Bank Holidays: Closed
Bare-root plants are only available from mid November to mid April during the hours above, except Saturdays when this part of the nursery closes at midday.