No matter how big or small your garden might be there is always room for a tree. Along with bringing structure and height to gardens, trees can also be used to attract wildlife and to create privacy around the home. While many people with small gardens shy away from planting trees in case their roots undermine foundations or their leaves block all the light during the summer months, there are plenty of garden trees available that will give you all the benefits of a large tree while remaining small. Now that we are at the beginning of the dormant season, it is the best time to plant trees providing the ground is not frozen or water-logged. At this time of year trees are available in three main forms; bare-root, root-balled or container-grown. Bare-root trees are often the cheapest option and although they can look fairly unpromising at the start they often establish very well.
If planted in the right conditions a tree will probably last a life time, so it is worth taking a bit of extra time at the planting stage to help give your tree the best possible start in life. The first step in planting your tree is digging the hole. This hole should be about a foot deeper and a foot wider than the root ball. The soil at the base of the hole should also be broken up with a garden fork as this will help the roots to spread out as the tree grows. Once you are happy with the hole, get a strong wooden stake and hammer it firmly into the bottom of the hole on the windward side about six inches away from the trunk of the tree. Getting the planting depth of the tree right is vital, to check this you should place the tree in the hole and make sure that the eventual soil level will be at the junction between the root and the stem. When you are happy with the planting depth fill in around the root-ball and stake with soil, firming it gently with your heel every so often to remove air pockets. The finished soil level should be slightly higher than the surrounding soil to allow for the soil settling. The tree should then be secured to its stake using a good quality tree tie and watered in well. Through the first couple of growing seasons the tree should be checked regularly to make sure that the roots are not allowed to dry out and to make sure that the tie is giving the tree plenty of support without cutting into the bark.