How to look after newly planted trees, shrubs & hedging

It’s really important that newly planted trees, shrubs and hedges are properly cared for in the first few seasons after planting so that they can develop strong roots and make good plants. If a woody plant doesn’t make good root growth in its first year, it won’t thrive and reach its full potential in subsequent years.

Follow these steps to ensure maximum survival rate and good growth for your plants.

1. Ensure the area around the new plant is kept weed-free so that plants have maximum access to moisture, light and nutrients.

This can be done in several ways:

  • Placing a weed-suppressing mat or membrane around the plants
  • Hand weeding
  • Strimming
  • Using chemical control

2. Chemical control with a suitable herbicide is best avoided in the first couple of years, if at all possible. If you do use herbicides, make sure that the plant is protected with a tree shelter which will prevent the chemical coming into direct contact with it. Never, under any circumstances, use a pre-emergence weedkiller (applied to bare ground to prevent the emergence of weeds) on young plants. Research has shown that if it used around woody plants in the first few years after planting, it can stunt growth.

3. Plants should be well watered in any dry spells during the first few years after planting. The watering should be a thorough soaking rather than a little water applied to each plant; the latter will encourage surface rooting instead of sending the plants deep into the soil in search of water. Older plants may also need additional watering during very hot, dry weather.  Whether you’re planting Cell Grown Plants all year round or bareroot plants from November to April, give them the best possible start by using Rootgrow Mycorrhizal Fungi to enhance their root systems and Broadleaf P4 Water Storing Granules to reduce watering frequency by up to 75%.

4. Using a tree guard will not only protect plants against pests like rabbits and deer, they also maintain a beneficial microclimate around the plant, sheltering it from the worst weather – strong winds, frosts, etc. The temperature inside the tree shelter is warm and moist and encourages good growth.

5. Check stakes, ties and shelters at least once a year to ensure that they are properly adjusted.

6. Feeding in early spring each year will keep plants healthy and growing at their optimum rate – especially important where hedging needs to be established quickly.

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