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If you’re ready to plant trees this autumn, now is the perfect time to start preparing your garden so you can get those saplings into the ground without worrying about them dying over winter. After all, planting new trees in autumn will give them almost a year to get established and prepare for the coming cold. However, there are lots of things you need to do before you can plant new trees in your garden, including removing any old ones that might be dying or diseased, cleaning away weeds and debris, and creating a nutrient-rich soil bed.

With the help of our team of horticultural experts at David Fairley Gardens, you can be sure that all bases will be covered before you buy and plant. Our experts are available to consult with you on your choice of plants, Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. Find out more about contacting us here. But in the meantime, here are five ways that will help you get your garden ready for planting trees this autumn.

Check for tree diseases and remove diseased trees

Before you start planting new trees, it’s important to check for diseases or pests that might be affecting existing trees in your garden. Diseases such as oak wilt and cypress canker can be transferred from one tree to another. If a tree in your garden is infected with one of these diseases, it could infect the new trees you plant in autumn. There are ways to check for tree diseases, including looking for signs of insects and diseases on the leaves and bark, and pruning off any diseased parts. If you do find diseases, remove and burn the infected trees to stop them spreading to other trees in your garden. There are also tree diseases you need to look out for in spring and summer, when it’s much easier to get new trees inoculated against diseases and pests.

Rotavate to clear away weeds, roots and rocks

If you’re planting new trees in a part of the garden that has had trees growing in it for a while, you might find that there are a lot of weeds and other plants growing in the soil. If you’re planting trees in that area, it would be a good idea to remove the weeds before you plant the new trees. One way to do this is to use a rotavator to chop up the weeds and roots, and also to remove any rocks or other large pieces of debris from the soil. You could hire a rotavator for a day to do this job, or hire someone to do it for you. Once the debris is removed, you can add organic matter to the soil, and get it ready for planting new trees.

Add organic matter and fertiliser

If you use a rotavator to clear away weeds from your soil, this will mean that there’s a lot less organic matter in the soil, which will help the soil retain water and nutrients. To help make your soil more nutrient-rich, mix in some well-rotted manure, compost or other organic matter. This will also help the soil to retain water and stay moist, so your new trees will have a good start. When you buy a bag of organic matter, it’s important to make sure it’s well rotted and composted, so it doesn’t smell. It’s also a good idea to fertilise your soil with a general-purpose fertiliser like blood and bone. This will help the soil to grow healthier plants, including your new trees. Always follow the instructions on the bag when applying fertiliser to your soil.

Mark out where new trees will go

Before you plant any new trees in your garden, it’s important to mark out where each one will go. After all, you don’t want to be digging a hole for each tree, only to realise you’ve planted two oak trees next to each other. Make sure you know where each tree will go, and dig holes a bit bigger than the roots of each tree, so they can grow into the soil without being squashed. If you’re planting more than one tree in a particular place, you might find that they grow better if you plant them in a group. There are lots of reasons why planting trees in groups might be a good idea, including providing shelter for birds, improving soil fertility, and helping to prevent water run-off

Water your garden now so it’s not too hard later

If you’ve got your soil ready, and you’ve planted new trees, it’s important to make sure you give those new trees a good start by keeping soil moist. To do this, add a layer of mulch around the new trees, or use a soaker hose to water them. This will help to keep the soil moist, and prevent it from drying out too much over the next few months as the weather gets colder. If you plant new trees in autumn, they will take a long time to grow big and strong, so it’s important to give them a good start by keeping them moist and well-fed during the first few months.

Wrapping up: Now you’re ready to plant!

It’s important to prepare your soil and garden before you start planting trees in autumn. There are lots of things you need to do to get your soil ready for new trees, including removing any diseased trees, clearing away weeds and rocks, adding organic matter and fertiliser, and marking out where new trees will go. Once your garden is ready, you can plant your way to a stunning garden.