Late autumn and winter is an excellent time for planting trees. Generally the heads of the trees are dormant and the roots, have a chance of establishing themselves prior to the growing seasons. Trees require more water than shrubs and other plants, due to the very nature of the trunk, therefore the energy of the plant has to travel further.
It is worth, putting a semi-permeable pipe down the side of the root at planting stage to enable a full watering can to be put down the hole. This allows water to reach the lower roots too. Whatever size tree you buy, the preparation the rule of thumb for the hole is that it needs to be twice as wide and twice as deep.
The spoil from the hole needs to be mixed with some good old compost. It is important not to just put fresh compost around the tree and discard all the soil from the hole, as in the future, that tree may reject the soil it has got to go into. If your soil is heavy clay, you need to dig a hole with a fork, not a spade, as this will tear the inside of the hole, thus allowing the roots to travel, beyond the edge of the hole, when the time comes. If you use a spade, then all you are doing is, smearing the edge, and creating pot effect. It is important to know which way the prevailing wind is coming from, as this will allow you to stake the tree correctly.
While the hole is open, hammer your stake near the side of the hole, where the worst winds come from. Put the mixed spoil and compost in the bottom half of the hole and then the tree can be offered up to the stake. The idea is that the tree is blown away from the stake on a windy day. Trees are prone to disease if they are constantly being rubbed and damaged.
Affix the tree tie to ensure that there is a collar between the tree and the stake, this stops the stake rubbing the tree. Two thirds of the height of the tree, needs to be staked, in the first year. You would then, cut the stake in half and re-affix the tree tie, for another season. If the root system on the tree you buy is big, then it may be important to use two stakes, one either side of the root system, and two tree ties to hold the tree safely.
If you are planting a tree in a lawn, then do not grow the grass back too close to the tree. Maybe leave an 18 Inch circle all the way round the tree and just under plant with some bulbs. If in doubt, then don’t hesitate to ask a question on this website as to the tree’s suitability for what you have in mind . Bear in mind that small gardens can have small trees that will stay small which is why it is important to do your research in advance.
Many people fall into the trap of grabbing a tree when they see it at a retail outlet and really they should hold the thought and jot the name down with a pen and paper and go home and thoroughly research it. Good luck!!