Tree planted in Homefield Drive.
After much debate, over many weeks, we learned that the trees planted in our road were "Bare Root Ball" (That is when they are lifted from nursery soil the soil is washed off and the trees transported with their roots bare - you can read more on this RHS site - https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/types/trees/buying-planting-specimens )
These, if treated carefully, can grow well. But if the bare root ball is planted in a very poor soil, such as one predominantly of clay and then the planting is backfilled using the clay dug from the hole, then the chances of a healthy tree are VERY low. (It should be noted that even when the very best planting practices are followed some new trees of this type will die).
The soil outside of our houses is mainly clay, if you are very lucky and some topsoil has been added this helps, but once you dig down you will almost certainly find clay. Clay is great for retaining water, but when it is very thick no drainage takes place - not good for any plants!
Also in the warmer weather the clay will harden and again this will prevent trees from growing!
It is no surprise then that most of the trees in our road have not grown well, and a large proportion have died. Planting bare root ball trees in clay is doomed to failure!
(This fact has been accepted by both the on-site representative (Paul) and customer services (Shara).
The answer is quite simple and most gardening programmes on TV and books on gardening advocate this as a solution to poor soil.
1. Use container grown trees, these will have good quality soil around their roots and during planting the roots are protected from any damage.
We buy ours from Perrywood in Tiptree - https://www.perrywood.co.uk - their plants and trees are of a good quality and they guarantee their trees (assuming they are planted correctly - each has a guide attached)
2. Dig a hole that is three times as wide as the pot/container and around twice as deep. In our soil this is quite labour intensive.
We bought a large Auger, it makes the job much easier (Amazon)
3. Fill the space around the root ball with a high quality compost/soil mix - we have used "Miracle Grow, Peat Free Multipurpose Compost" - this is easy to use and provides some "feed" for the tree when it first grows. Surrounding the tree roots in a high quality soil will allow them to thrive.
For medium size trees of around 2 metres height you will need two to three bags to for each tree.
4. Top dress the planting with a Root Hormone Treatment for trees (garden centres), this will stimulate the root growth in the first few months.
5. Support the young tree with a flexible yet strong pole, we chose the steel poles which are coated in PVC.
These are the same size as the bamboo poles that come with the trees, so can replace them easily after planting, without damaging the roots.
(Most garden centres have these)
6 Fit a "Tree Guard" if animals are likely to be around the base of the tree.
Most garden centres have these.
Trees we have successfully planted recently....
We have planted 14 trees in all over the last 6 months and all are doing well (12 in the back garden and 2 in the front)
Our strategy, which has been successful -
We decided that rather than wait for a contractor to replace our trees (once it had been agreed that it was not our fault that they were dead), we did the job ourselves, this ensuring that the work was done correctly and then we charged the cost of the trees (purchased from Perrywood) - this was paid promptly!
Even using the very best trees and carefully following all the guidance you will occasionally loose a tree, but this is rare!
1. The "Tree Council" (UK) have produced a great guide on planting trees - https://treecouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Tree-planting-guide.pdf
2. An RHS guide: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/how-to-plant-a-tree