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2 - November 2020

Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

The key to so many things in life is to ponder ‘What, where, when, how and why?’.

Funnily enough, this also applies to planting trees. Once you’ve decided that you want to plant some - something everybody should do - the next conundrums you face are what you want to plant, where you want to plant them (you will note the plural tense here…), when to plant, how big they will need to be (and how you will be able to get them where you want them) and finally why you want to plant trees there in the first place.

If you are familiar with Palmstead, you will have no doubt heard the mantra ‘Right plant, right place’ – well it’s exactly the same for trees. We want you to get the right trees, first time.

There are a number of things to consider before you make your choices: -

·      Are you looking for shade? Or maybe not?

·      Do you want something that will reach for the skies, or perhaps stay at a more manageable height?

·      Is the garden sheltered or exposed to coastal winds?

·      Which trees would suit the soil type and drainage characteristics?

·      Seasonal colours – what’s your preference?

Are you looking to plant in the traditional November – March planting season, or does your client want trees in the middle of July?

So many questions!


The best thing to do initially is to visit the Palmstead website, click on the magnifying glass and choose ‘Use advanced search’.  Here you can select ‘Field grown’ from the ‘Form’ dropdown list to show all the open ground and bareroot stock we have available.

If you are looking to screen something - like perhaps a newly built warehouse – consider planting smaller trees closer to your viewpoint, rather than something huge nearer to your boundary.  It’s the old ‘these are small, but those are far away’ scenario.

But don’t plant too close to any buildings, or you could eventually cause problems in the future with foliage growing into your soffits and guttering, or worse still, subsidence.

You’ll also need to check for underground services such as gas, water and sewage pipes (for obvious reasons), as well as electrical, comms and fibre optic cables.  Try to get hold of accurate services drawings, consider hiring a Cable Awareness Tool (CAT Scanner) and pipe locater, available from most hire shops; it could save you a lot of unnecessary expense (and pain) in the long run.

While you’re at it, look upwards.  Having decided on your trees, you will need to work out roughly how big they’re likely to become when fully grown.  If you plant underneath power cables, phone lines or even streetlamps you might have to budget for some high level pruning in years to come.

And last but by no means least, you need to consider access for planting the tree.  If you and/or your client have decided on a heavy standard right in the middle of the rear garden, you can be assured that it’s likely to be wide and, as the name would suggest, heavy.

If you have vehicle access right up to the tree pit and a telehandler at your disposal – great!  But if the only way into the garden is a pedestrian gateway beside the garage, and then a couple of steps down from the patio, you might need to go back to the drawing board.

For further advice with selecting and planting the right trees, we have a couple of very helpful guides available to download from the Palmstead website: