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How to plant a tree

Updated: Apr 17

The success or failure of trees and shrubs to grow and produce the desired effect depends on planting and routine care.

When to plant

The best times for planting are the periods between September – October just before the rains, during the rains Dec – March, and from April – May (just after the rains). If you are going to plant before or after the rains, then water must be available.

 How to Plant

1.Dig and prepare the hole

Water the plant well before you start. Planting holes should be 1m deep, and 1m square. Add as much manure, and/or compost as you can and where there is heavy soils add some river sand. Add termidan to the soil as this will deter termites.

2.Checking the planting depth

Getting the correct planting depth is one of the most important elements of planting trees and shrubs. If the tree is planted too deeply, its roots may become deprived of oxygen, which may halt their growth or even kill them. On the other hand if the tree is planted too shallow, the roots may dry out. Remove the plant from the container, put plant in the hole. Make sure that the top of the root ball is level with surface of the ground. Back fill the hole until the soil around the plant is flush with the ground level.

3.Back fill and firm the soil

When refilling the hole sprinkle a generous handful of compost, manure, or any other natural fertiliser around the roots. This will encourage root development and healthy growth. When filling in around the roots make sure there are no air pockets by gently treading the soil every couple of inches until the soil reaches surface level.

4.Water in

Give your new tree a good drink of water to help it recover from planting. Do not allow the roots to dry out at any time.


After watering in put a good mulch of compost, leaves or grass around the plant. This will help to conserve the moisture and add humus to the soil. Keep mulch away from trunk.

Routine Care

For trees and shrubs to establish well they need regular watering, feeding and weeding. The more food and water you give the tree the faster it will grow


Most trees and shrubs need very little pruning. However if you are pruning remember these simple principles: remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches, cutting back to healthy growth; remove the entire branch if that makes for a well-balanced framework; take out weak or straggly and any crossing or congested stems; cut out any rubbing stems which could encourage disease. Make all cuts clean and neat.


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