Planting A Tree: The Right Way To Do It

Planting tree correctly: the right tree for the garden.

First of all, the garden owner should think about what kind of tree he wants to have in the first place. This should be considered not only the prevailing climate, but also in particular the size of the garden, because in principle trees up to a height of 6 m are more suitable for small gardens while larger trees can also be planted in large gardens.

In addition, there is the question of whether the tree should be a specimen plant or in association with others.

The right season for planting trees

Trees can be planted in both spring and fall, although the type of tree also plays a role: Fruit trees are best planted in October/November.

Container plants can be planted all year round. It should be noted that bare-root trees are generally not planted during frost or particularly hot periods.

The right location for trees

Before tree planting can begin, the right location for the tree must first be found. The following criteria should be considered:

Soil condition
Expected height of the tree
Expected width of the tree

Prepare the soil for tree planting

Once it is determined where the tree will be planted, dig a planting hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball of the tree. The bottom of the hole should be loosened to prevent waterlogging and to allow the tree’s roots to pass through.

Water the tree before planting

If the tree to be planted is too dry, it must be watered before planting. To do this, place the root ball in a bucket of water until no more bubbles rise.

As a rule, however, watering is not necessary.

Tip: if you wish, you can cut the roots of the tree and the crown by a third before watering or planting.

Planting tree correctly: this is how to do it!

  • If the root system is wrapped in a cloth, it is put into the planting hole with it, if it is made of organic material.
  • Straighten the trunk of the tree.
  • Fill the planting hole with soil and tamp it down carefully.
  • Drive three support stakes into the ground near the trunk (about 30 cm from the trunk) (at least one is necessary, which must be on the side from which the wind mainly comes).
  • If there are three support stakes, provide them with crossbars at the top.
  • Wrap coir rope around the trunk and stakes, which must be tightly wrapped, but still not constrict the trunk.
  • Create watering edge.
  • Mud in the soil.
  • Spread bark mulch around the sapling to provide frost protection.

Tip I: In the year of planting and in the following year, the tree should never dry out!

Tip II: a dose of horn shavings helps the tree to grow!

Pruning trees: Types pruning trees

tree cutting

In principle, a distinction is made between three different types of pruning:

  • Education pruning
  • Rejuvenation pruning
  • Maintenance pruning

Depending on the age and condition of the tree in question, one of these cuts is applied.

In general, it should be noted that the more vigorously a woody plant is cut back, the more vigorously it will sprout again!

Depending on the age and condition of the tree in question, one of these cuts is applied.

In general, it should be noted that the more vigorously a woody plant is cut back, the more vigorously it will sprout again!

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a) Pruning trees: The education cut

The educational pruning is used in the first years of a tree’s life. How it is done depends on the shape of the tree. If the tree grows in a columnar shape, it is important that the pruning is directed to this shape. If the tree in question has more of a spreading shape, it must be pruned according to it. It is not advisable to attempt an upbringing by force. This means that a sprawling shrub can – and should not – be kept compact forever, or a tall-growing tree kept small! It is always important to respond to the individual wishes of a woody plant and give it as much space as it needs.

When pruning, it can be observed that generally the uppermost bud at the cut sprouts most vigorously. This makes it easy to determine the development of the branches, and also the direction of growth: if the eye in question is on the outside, the resulting shoot will grow outward. However, if the eye is on the inside, the shoot will also grow inwards. Since this is usually to be prevented, pruning should always be done over an eye that is facing outward.

The central shoot, which grows vertically upwards, is considered an extension of the trunk. It is therefore advisable to always let it grow straight upwards, and if possible without so-called competing shoots that could possibly obstruct it. Such shoots should be removed immediately.

b) Pruning trees: The rejuvenation pruning

Rejuvenation pruning is used for older or old trees, which must still be healthy (easily recognizable by young, strong shoots). It is used to keep them as vital as possible and to delay senescence as long as possible. However, if a tree is already badly decayed or obviously suffering from serious diseases, it should be left to die in peace – or cut it down. The chances that a rejuvenation pruning can still save it are zero, so this effort can be saved.

A rejuvenation pruning can be carried out in the form of a strong pruning, which should serve the thinning. In addition, the woody plants in question should be encouraged to sprout new shoots. This pruning can remove all old, cracked, and weak branches, leaving only a sparse sapling.

c) Pruning trees: The maintenance pruning

The maintenance pruning serves – as the name suggests – the maintenance of a woody plant. This is expressed in various forms:

  • The grove should be light
  • The shape of a woody plant should be preserved
  • The development of a grove should be promoted

In general, it can be said that pruning is one of the simplest types of pruning. A tree or shrub that has been properly trained can be kept in shape very well. However, it is important that the central shoot is always freed from competing shoots. Shoots that grow inward or are too crowded are removed as well. Steep side shoots should generally be cut back to an outside eye.

It is important to remove individually objectionable shoots that obviously threaten the lightness of a woody plant. This is not so much about the appearance of the woody plant, but about its development.

Pruning trees in winter – what to consider

On days when the thermometer shows temperatures around freezing point, garden owners would prefer to lie on the warm sofa. However, this is not the case for tree owners: the best time to prune trees is in winter on a dry day, preferably after a frost period. However, care should be taken that temperatures do not fall below -5°C. In this case, the wood of the tree is too brittle and the wounds caused by the pruning can heal more badly.

a) Pruning in winter: This is how it’s done!

When pruning trees, always make sure that you cut above an outer bud. This should be done so that no water can get into it.
Older trees must be thinned out, removing weak wood.
Shoots that grow too long, steep, or at an angle are shortened. The same applies to shoots that have little or no fruitfulness.
Branches that cross each other must be removed.
b) Pruning in winter: What else should be considered?

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If thick branches need to be removed, this must never be done in one step. This is because such a branch may break off during the cutting process, causing great damage to the bark of the tree. To avoid this, thick branches are cut in stages, each of which should be about a quarter of the total length of the branch to be removed.

The more pruning is done to fruit trees, the more they will grow. The fruit will also grow larger – although their number will also be reduced.

If a fruit tree is pruned in moderation, it grows less and forms all the more fruit. However, these are smaller.

Reuse tree prunings sensibly

Many trees produce a lot of leaves – this is not a big secret. As long as they are nicely on the branches and twigs, they do not bother any garden owner. They only become a nuisance when autumn sets in and with it the leaf shedding of the trees. Now opinions differ as to whether it makes sense to leave the leaves lying around or to collect them. You can read more about this here. But not only the leaves, but also the cut branches from the autumn pruning cause some garden owners a headache. Of course, it would be easy to just drop them off at a local green waste collection center. But there are other ways to still put these “leftovers” to good use.

a) Shredding branches

Shredding of cut branches is useful in that the shredded material is very suitable as an addition to the compost. Here it belongs to the so-called “dry materials”.

b) Composting leaves

A very good way to process the leaves is to compost them. For this purpose, they are simply incorporated into the existing compost pile. It should be noted that there must be a balance in the compost between the various components: wet and dry waste should be in balance.

c) Making firewood yourself: what to consider?

Thick branches and logs are popular for use as firewood. Branches are usually not a problem. With trunks, however, there are certain conditions that must be observed, even if the trees are in your own garden. What exactly these conditions include and how you can produce your own firewood, you can find out here.

d) Spreading leaves under trees

The positive thing about leaves is that they virtually decompose on their own. So if it is laid out in the fall in a layer no more than 15 cm high under trees and shrubs, it will have largely decomposed into humus by the following spring. This process can be accelerated by using special compost accelerators from the specialist trade – but these are not really necessary. Leaving dry rhododendron leaves is also highly recommended: they decompose very, very slowly and thus offer the rhododendron roots good protection against frost.

e) Brushwood as frost protection

Most hardy perennials and shrubs are grateful for a little protection from the cold in winter. Now, you could buy them fleece covers and the like at specialty stores – or you could reach for the material your garden provides anyway: Brushwood. This is simply laid out close to the plant, although it may well be stacked a little higher around the “trunk”.

Caution: when there is no longer a danger of frost, be sure to remove the brushwood! Some plants otherwise have problems to be able to form their shoots.

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Tree care in winter: What to do?

Garden maintenance in the summer is not only fun, but for most garden owners it is part of it like the amen in the church. However, as soon as the days become shorter, their stay in the garden also shortens, and in the winter time hardly anyone is seen in the gardens at home. Actually, it’s a pity, because especially in frosty times trees and shrubs need a lot of attention. In order for them to survive the cold season without any problems, they should be given appropriate protective measures even before the onset of winter.

paysage forestier

a) Tree care in winter: How frost damages trees!

Frost damage to trees occurs more quickly than some garden owners would like. Especially on frosty days when the sun is shining, as well as on days with strong temperature differences during the day and night, tensions arise on the tree bark. Eventually, it gives way and cracks open. Bacteria, fungi and other pests enter through these small holes. Older trees usually cope relatively well with such a threat; young saplings, on the other hand, are not yet resistant enough and can suffer serious damage as a result. Thus it can happen that in the following spring, where a tree has stood and should continue to stand, only a sad remnant of it is left…

b) Prevent frost damage to trees by painting them white

Good news for all tree owners: a hard winter does not have to mean danger for the tree population, because there is a remedy: a so-called white paint protects trees and other woody plants in winter. This is a special paint that is available in specialized stores. It is applied to the trunk with a brush on a frost-free day at the beginning of winter. It is important to remove dirt, moss, lichen, etc. from the trunk beforehand. If it is necessary – that is, if the white coating is noticeably decimated – it must be repeated during the winter.

c) Water trees even in winter!

Many garden owners forget or suppress the fact that trees are thirsty even in winter and consequently need to be watered. It is not uncommon for a fruit tree or other woody plant not to survive the winter due to lack of water. To prevent this from happening, especially evergreen woody plants must be thoroughly watered on dry and frost-free days. It becomes problematic only when there is a long period of frost, and thus the soil is frozen. If this is the case, the roots can not draw water from it. However, this does not mean that garden owners should not water because of this; on the contrary, even if drought damage to the plant is already visible, it should still continue to be watered.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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