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How to plant a tree grown in a container – a professional guide!

King and Co the Tree Nursery are RHS Chelsea Gold Medals winners and are Plant Healthy certified, here we detail how to plant a tree grown in a container. This guide is for tree planting using a double staking method. The Nursery has also produced a step-by-step video – watch it here.

Why plant a container grown tree?

Container grown trees can be planted all year round, unlike bare root and root-balled trees, which can only be planted during the planting season (November – March). Buy a container grown tree which has an already more established root system for a higher success rate.

Trees of this type are lighter and easier to manoeuvre, making it faster and easier to plant and get them to the planting site. King and Co can deliver container grown trees next-day nationwide due to their portable nature once packaged.

How to plant a tree grown in a container a step by step professional guide,

What tools do you need to plant a tree?

  • A strong spade or shovel.
  • A tape measure.
  • A hammer and nails or drill and screws.
  • A Post knocker, sometimes called a Post driver. You can also use a sledgehammer.
  • A staking kit, with stakes, crossbar, tree pad and tree buckle tie.
  • Tree specialised fertiliser.
  • Compost and mulch.

How wide and how deep should I dig the hole?

Also known as the planting pit, which should be around 25% wider than the rootball. It is important to only dig a few centimetres deeper than the rootball. If the tree is planted too deep, the tree suffocates and ultimately the tree fails. Keep your excavated soil to one side, ready for improvement later on.

Remove the tree from its container, or bag that it has been growing in. Place the tree carefully into the planting pit to check the depth. Just add or take away soil if required.

How should I stake the tree?

Tree staking is critical for planting success. Staking protects the roots whilst establishing, keeping the tree upright and stable. The stakes should be knocked in with a post driver or sledgehammer until they are held firmly in the ground. Use 30cm as a rough guide.

Measure your crossbar up against the two stakes and, whilst keeping it level, screw or nail it to each stake. Weave the buckle tie into the tree pad and screw this into the crossbar, move this left or right to ensure the tree is upright. Place the tree back inside the planting pit and secure using the buckle tie.

Should I improve the soil for backfill?

Help your newly planted tree by improving the soil quality. Mix your excavated soil with some multipurpose compost to help improve water retention and nutrient uptake. Incorporate some King and Co specialised Tree fertiliser to give your tree a real boost.

Backfill the planting pit with your newly improved soil, making sure to fill around the side of the rootball. Heel in the soil firmly to ensure good root and soil contact. Next, mulch around the base of the tree, which will help prevent weed growth and trap moisture.

How do I look after my tree now it’s planted?

Water in your new tree to help it settle. We recommend a couple of litres, every other day in the warm growing season. Watering the key to success, too much can be just as detrimental as not enough.

Prune any dead wood, and maintain a weed free area around the base of the tree. As the tree grows, you can loosen off the buckle tie to stop it damaging the stem.

What if I’m still unsure about how to plant my tree?

If you need any more help or advice, get in contact with King and Co. Watch our video below for a demonstration of how to plant a tree grown in a container.

Watch our step-by-step tree planting guide here!

Shopping online

You can buy trees, hedging, shrubs and topiary online by browsing our website.
If you do not see a plant or size that is suitable for you then please call as we stock a wide variety of plants in our tree nursery. It’s worth noting that many other websites sell other people’s stock (i.e. they act as an agent) so you cannot view the products at their own site. At King & Co, all of our advertised plants are available for viewing at our tree nursery in Rayne, near Braintree, situated just over an hours drive out of London.

Our knowledgeable and experienced tree nursery staff are always contactable via phone on 01376 340469 or if you have any questions regarding any of our trees or accessories.

If you cannot see what you require on our website, please complete the enquiry form. We will give it our urgent attention and will get back to you shortly with a solution that meets your needs.


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