Gardening Tips > September > Nothing beats the autumn colour of trees

Nothing beats the autumn colour of trees

Every gardener has their favourite season. Spring for blossom, bulbs and the signs of new life emerging from dormancy, summer for the warmth and splendour of endless flower blooms, even winter has its moments with the beauty of frost covered grasses glistening in the morning light and holly bushes laden with berries.

Autumn, however, really does have a certain something about it to make it a truly magical season as the garden suddenly seems as though it has been set alight as trees and shrubs suddenly develop fiery shades of oranges, reds and yellows.

A tree is quite easily the most important plant that you are ever likely to buy as you providing a permanent feature to your garden. Established trees are very difficult to move so it is vital that you think carefully about what you to want to plant and where, particularly where space is at a premium.

  • Consider the final height and spread of your tree
  • A tree can earn its keep by providing a changing sequence of interest over the seasons. If you prefer the spectacular colours of autumn leaves it may be worth considering a species that already has year round yellow, red or variegated foliage such as Acers, Robinia or a purple foliaged Prunus.
  • Trees can offer interest with impressive structures or interesting trunks. Prunus serrula and Acer griseum offer great shape, lovely autumn colour and are often grown purely for their deep orange/brown trunks.

How to plant a container grown tree:

  • Prepare a hole for planting by clearing the area of weeds, turf and, if you are planting into soil of poor quality, dig in some organic matter to add structure and improve drainage.
  • Allow the soil to settle before planting to prevent the tree from sinking later on.  Alternatively, mix in organic matter such as well rotted manure or garden compost with the soil removed from the planting hole.
  • As a general rule your planting hole should be dug out at least twice the diameter of your tree’s root system and to the same depth. Avoid planting too deeply as the base of the trunk can begin to rot away.
  • Pierce the sides of the planting hole with a fork to allow the roots to penetrate the surrounding soil.
  • Place the tree into the planting hole and tease out any roots that have begun to grow around the rootball. This will encourage them to grow outwards, rather than in a circle.
  • Backfill with the excavated soil and firm in gently.
  • To help the root system anchor itself you can drive in a wooden stake at an angle, pointing in the direction of the prevailing winds. Tie the tree to the stake using a tree tie about a third of the way up the trunk. This will need to be loosened regularly as the tree grows to prevent it from being engulfed by the trunk.
  • After planting, water well and mulch the soil to hold in moisture and act as a weed control. To ensure your tree survives, water well during its first year and add a tree guard to protect the tree from large mammals like rabbits and deer.
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