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Holes for shrubs and trees should be dug about 30 centimetres wider and about 15 centimetres deeper than the size of the soil ball of the new plant. When digging the first layer of soil, place it to one side so that this topsoil can be replaced around the plant's soil ball first. It is better to put the topsoil into the new hole when re-filling and leave the clay on top. When the hole is dug, fill it with water and allow the water to drain away. Then put some topsoil and, if available, some compost into the bottom of the hole to make a slight mound. The soil ball can then be rested on this mound and the rest of the topsoil from the hole placed around the soil ball and tamped in.
Don't leave loose soil around the plant because it will allow air pockets which are injurious to the new plant's roots. When the hole has been filled to within 6 or 7 centimetres of ground level, fill the depression with water and allow it to drain away before filling up the hole completely. It is wise to leave a depression around the plant which will hold water, like a miniature dam, rather than levelling off the ground around the plant as water will simply run off.
When planting shrubs or trees from tins or plastic pots, don't try to shake the soil ball of its container. Cut the tin away on four corners so the soil
ball can be lifted out without breaking away. The same applies to plastic pots or polythene bags, which are easy to cut with scissors.
Bare root trees must be rested on a dome of soil in the hole and the side roots spread out over the dome. Trees and shrubs supplied like this should also be well stacked as there is not much stability in the hole until the roots begin to establish themselves.
Plants that come in hessian, can be treated the same way as for tins and pots, except that it is only necessary to peel off the hessian from around the soil ball while the plant is standing in the hole. The hessian under the soil ball can remain because it will rot away quickly in the ground.
Never plant shrubs or trees in tins in the ground.Contrary to popular belief, it takes a long time for the tin to rot away and during that time the plant will become root bound and either die or fail to grow well.
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