Planting, Pruning and Aftercare of Your Plants
Before planting the roots should be soaked in water for about one hour (never more than three). If there are any damaged roots or shoots these should be removed to the most suitable point just below the damage. If you are unable to plant straight away dig a trench large enough for the roots, put the roots carefully into this and cover well with loose soil or peat and keep moist until final planting or if the ground is frozen keep the roots wrapped in moist straw, peat or paper in an unheated but protected position e.g garage or shed. Newly planted trees and shrubs will not normally be harmed by frost and snow anymore than established plants.
Before planting a hedge dig a trench at least 30cm wide and 25cm deep, making sure all perennial weeds are removed. Treat roots with Rootgrow, position the plant then refill with well broken down soil, adding soil improvers if necessary and bonemeal.
To plant a bare rooted tree or bush dig a hole slightly larger than the root size and if conditions are dry water the hole. Place the roots into the hole spreading them out to their natural position. Plant to the depth of the old soil mark on the stem, never deeper, except for blackcurrants where the crown of the bush should be just below soil level. Be particularly careful not to bury the graft of fruit trees. It is advisable to stake all standard and half standard trees and bush trees if the site is exposed. Mark the position in the hole where the stake can be driven in without damaging the roots, remove the tree and drive the stake in firmly. Treat roots with Rootgrow, replace the tree and re-arrange the roots then fill the hole with a mixture of soil, a quantity of moist peat, composted bark or a similar product and bonemeal. The quantity will vary depending on the quality of your soil. If heavy frost occurs after planting the plants may need firming in again.
For pot grown or ball rooted plants dig a hole larger than the root size, improve the soil if heavy or sandy by adding some peat, composted bark or similar product, then when the soil has been well broken up put the plant in the hole disturbing the roots as little as possible. Adjust the plant level so that the plant will be in to the same depth as before. Replace the soil around the plant then firm in well.
Whether planting bare root, ball root or pot grown plants, we strongly recommend using Rootgrow. Rootgrow enhances a plants root system so a newly planted plant can find more food, nutrients and water. This means you need less fertilizer, the plants will establish faster and it reduces failure rates.
For the first year it is essential that the plant is kept well watered even in winter when they are dormant, especially in March and April just before they break dormancy.
In the first year plants often come into leaf and flower much later than established plants and it should not be assumed that the plants have failed should they be late to leaf. Evergreen shrubs may drop their leaves when transplanted.
When you come to prune your plants always prune to just above a bud pointing in the direction where future growth is wanted using sharp, clean secateurs.
For trees, ornamental trees, ground cover plants, grasses, ferns, herbs and conifers only straggly or untidy shoots should be pruned.
For climbers the self-clinging varieties will not need pruning but should be planted as near to the wall as possible and the branches pinned to the wall encouraging self-clinging.
Twining climbers will not need pruning but should be planted as near to the supporting frame as possible and if the branches are long enough they should be twined into the frame loosely. If not long enough they should be fixed to a cane until tall enough to reach the frame.
Shrubby climbers should be planted against the wall or fence after cleanly pruning any branches which face backwards. Growth coming forward should either be removed or gently bent and tied to the wall.
Hedging plants need pruning to encourage side branching. Usually the harder a plant is pruned the bushier it will be. If they are not pruned there is a danger that the hedge will be thin and bare at the base and that the tips of the plants will die back. If the plant is naturally bushy less or sometimes no pruning will be needed to achieve a dense hedge. For fruit the object of pruning is to achieve an open well balanced and easily managed shape. Plants should normally be pruned immediately after planting, but not in periods of heavy frost.