Planting Guide: How to Plant Pleached Trees Step-by-Step | The Complete Guide to Pleached Trees

Planting Guide: How to Plant Pleached Trees Step-by-Step

When adding pleached trees to your garden, it's essential to follow proper planting and care techniques. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the planting process step by step.

Watch Expert Guidance: Award-Winning Designer & BBC1's Garden Rescue Presenter, Garden Ninja Lee Burkhill, explains the process in this fantastic video. Please note that in his video Lee uses the crossbar and stakes method. For ease we tend to recommend the double stake per tree method. Although the principle is the same, ensure trees are staked for stability.

Planting Pleached Trees: A 10-Step Guide

Step 1: Dig a Good Hole

Our typical tree pot size is around 35L, with an approximate 45cm diameter and 35cm height. Aim for around 1.5 times the size of the pot, wide enough to accommodate the root ball of the tree. Position the tree so that the root collar is level with the soil surface, avoiding planting it too deeply. Loosen the soil in the base and around the sides of the hole using a fork and remove any debris.

Step 2: Position Staking Kit

With the tree set aside, get your staking kit ready, position two stakes at opposite ends of the planting hole. Hammering in the stakes first prevents the risk of damaging your new tree’s delicate roots. Hammer in the stakes vertically at least 40cm deep. This ensures a solid support structure. If your garden is very windy, consider additional support.

View the full Staking Guide

Step 3: Remove Trees from Pots

Before removing the tree from its pot, give it a good watering. Carefully take the tree out of the pot, being mindful of any bracing or staples holding it in place.

Step 4: Position and Check

Place the tree in the planting hole and ensure it is well-positioned. Step back to evaluate its alignment and make any necessary adjustments with the soil to ensure the tree is level and true. Having a friend with a second pair of eyes can be helpful here.

Step 5: Backfill and Heel the Soil

Prior to backfilling, consider using a fertiliser. Backfill with the same forked soil. In you are adding extra organic matter, be mindful not to add too much as this could hinder the initial root growth necessary for the tree to anchor itself. Ensure the soil is thoroughly compressed. Use your heel to gently firm the soil all around the root ball, ensuring excellent contact between the roots and the soil. This is crucial because roots can die if left in air pockets. If needed, top up the soil to ground level and firm it down once more.

Step 6: Secure Tree with Rubber Ties

Position the tree upright and securely attach it to the support stakes using the rubber ties. Rubber is ideal here since it is both durable and does not cut into the trunk.

Step 7: Secure Branches with Smaller Rubber Ties

Monitor the training ties/bands to prevent them from becoming too tight and potentially damaging the stems. During the first season or two, tie in the branches at regular intervals to guide them to the desired shape. Again, rubber tree ties are ideal as they provide flexibility for growth and prevent damage to the tree.

Step 8: Water In

Give the tree a thorough watering. Proper watering is crucial, especially during the establishment phase. Ensure the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Potted trees require extra attention.

View the full Watering Guide

Step 9: Extra Protection

Depending on your garden's conditions, protect your tree from wildlife damage, such as deer or rabbits, or provide additional protection in high-wind areas.

Step 10: Enjoy!

Finally, enjoy the beauty of your new pleached trees and reward yourself with a well-deserved cuppa!

Further Resources

RHS: How to Plant a Tree
How to Stake a Tree
Lee Burkhill:
Pleached Trees; Planting and Support Guide
BBC Gardeners' World: Pleached Trees Grow Guide

The Complete Guide to Pleached Trees
180cm / 16-18cm / 120x120cm / Planting service / Summer

Caring for Your New Pleached Trees

With Love & Care

For practical guidance and tips about looking after pleached trees, check out our Caring for Your New Pleached Trees series. This ensures your trees get off to the best start, from delivery through their critical first two years. Remember to check on your new trees regularly and provide essential care such as staking, watering, pruning, and fertilising as needed. This will help your pleached trees thrive. Happy gardening!

Caring for Your New Pleached Trees
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