How to plant your free trees

Planting your free trees

All the trees are two years old and approximately 20cm to 60cm tall. Treat them gently - the roots can be damaged or shocked if they are dropped or rough handled, and this can then take the tree longer to get established.

When you collect them, the trees are in their winter state so they will have no leaves or brown leaves. Don’t worry, this is natural, the trees will start to develop leaves in the warmer weather.

When to plant your tree

Ideally, you should try to plant your tree on the day you collect it or as soon as you can. Store the tree somewhere cool outdoors. Keep the roots covered to protect them from frosts, wind, snow, and sun, and don’t let them dry out.

If you need to store the tree longer than a week, give it a temporary home in a pot full of soil. However, please remember that if you want to plant it in the ground, you need to do this during the dormant season (December to March). Planting the tree earlier enables it to grow roots more quickly which helps trees survive the summer months.

Where to plant your tree

If you want to plant your tree in a pot permanently, use a large pot and plant one tree per pot. The size of the pot will determine how big the tree gets as once the roots have filled the pot, the tree will stop growing.

When deciding where to plant your tree, think about:

  • How big the tree will grow 
  • Where it will shade
  • Whether it will obscure windows or views
  • Where the leaves, berries, and fruit will fall 
  • How close it is to other trees
  • How close it is to buildings 
  • Your neighbours: consider your neighbours as the trees grow to their full height over time
  • Trees in front gardens are particularly beneficial as everyone can enjoy them and they cool streets for everyone’s benefit

Safe planting distances from buildings

This depends on the depth of your foundations and the soil type. If you have clay soil (which is common in Hinckley and Bosworth) you need to increase the planting distance. Similarly, for buildings with shallow foundations (for example, conservatories), increase the distance. If your foundations are deeper than one metre, or if you intend to prune the tree to restrict its height, you can plant closer than the recommended minimum distances.

The recommended minimum distances are given in the description for each tree. Alternatively, you can plant them in a large pot on a paved area.

How to plant your tree

When planting your tree, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a safe distance to plant, or plant in a pot
  2. Make sure the hole is big enough for the roots to fit in comfortably. If soil is heavy clay, you can consider adding grit and sand to improve drainage, but this isn’t essential
  3. Plant the tree at the same depth which it was previously grown at. The soil around the tree should be level with the adjacent ground
  4. Once planted, press the soil down firmly around the stem, making sure the roots are fully covered but all of the stem is above the soil
  5. If soil is dry, water the tree after you planted it

For the first couple of years:

  1. Weed carefully around the tree base 
  2. Water the tree during long spells of warm or hot weather

Last updated: 09/10/2023 10:45