HOW TO PLANT A TREE

Go forth and propagate with our step by step guide to planting.

STEP 1: PREPARATION

Careful preparation of the planting site is desirable to ensure that saplings mature into healthy trees. Do not plant saplings in areas overshadowed by tall trees, buildings or near walls as they could grow as high as 30m. Make sure that the planting site is at least that distance from walls or buildings so that it gets enough light. Test your soil type in order to ensure that the species you have chosen to plant are compatible. Collect all tools and materials necessary.

STEP 2: DIGGING A HOLE

Dig a hole big enough to take a root ball of the tree, there should be a distinct ‘tide mark’ on the trunk indicating the depth it was planted at in the nursery. Leave the turf to one side as you will need it later.

STEP 3: COMPOST

Mix some well rotted manure, compost or leaf mould into stony or poor soil.

STEP 4: ROOTS

Dip the roots of the tree into water – this will help the tree survive. If the sapling is bare-rooted, spread the roots carefully and cover with soil. Shake the sapling to allow soil to cover roots and avoid large air pockets. If the young tree was grown in a container make sure that the root ball is firmly placed and surrounded with soil.

STEP 5: FIRM SOIL

When roots are covered, split the sod and place upside down to bring level with ground – watch the ‘tide mark’. Firm the soil with the back of your heel.

STEP 6: WATER

Dip the roots of the tree into water - this will help the tree survive if the sapling is bare-rooted. If the soil is dry, soak thoroughly after planting. You could also sink a piece of pipe, perforated with holes, into the planting pit to ensure that the water gets down to the roots and is not evaporated in dry weather.

STEP 7: TIES

Trees up to 1m in height do not need to stake. Trees over 1m should be supported using a stake. The stake should be between one-quarter to one-third the length of the tree and should be tied at the bottom.

STEP 8: PROTECTION

If the sapling is exposed to grazing animals e.g. rabbits, deer, a plastic tree protector or metal mesh surround may be necessary.

STEP 9: TIMING

The best time to transplant saplings is from October to April. Autumn is the optimal time for many species. If the sapling has been grown in a container it may be planted at any time of year.

STEP 10: AFTERCARE

After the tree has been planted watch out for the signs of distress such as drought, wind exposure, disease or grazing.

STEP 11: PLANTING MORE TREES

Dig your next hole about one spade’s length away. Avoid planting in straight rows and vary the species you choose.

WAKE UP, SMELL THE COFFEE & PLANT A TREE

This year, SPAR and select coffee shops all over Ireland are getting behind ESB Tree Week by partnering with ESB to offer FREE seeds with every coffee order on the morning of March 7th. Click the button below to find your nearest participating shop.

Find me coffee & seeds

NEXT GENERATION

Throughout ESB Tree Week we're marking every newborn's arrival by giving their mum's a native sapling to grown, nurture and enjoy. In partnership with eumom, it's our way of celebrating children's potential and our hope that they enjoy the brightest future.

CARING FOR TREES AFTER PLANTING

Maintenance is as crucial to tree survival as correct planting, so there is little point in planting trees if you are not willing to provide aftercare. Maintenance should be undertaken for at least the first two growing seasons, and should involve the following:

Weed-free zone

Maintain a one metre weed-free zone around the base of the tree. A mulch of organic material such as compost or well rotted manure, placed around the base of the tree will help conserve water and control weeds, thereby encouraging rapid establishment.

Watering

Watering should be carried out regularly during the first two growing seasons. There is often a dry period during May and June, and many newly planted trees die at this time due to drought.

Broken Branches

Cut back broken branches to a strong shoot or to the main trunk. (Paint the wound with a sealing compound.)

Replace

Replace dead or vandalised trees at the end of the growing season.

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