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Advice on heeling-in, planting  and staking trees (thanks to Tree Council - reproduced with permission from the Tree Wardens' Handbook.)
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Putting bare-rooted trees in containers or pots
  1. Immerse the roots in a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes before planting.

  2. Make sure the container is large enough for at least two years’ growth. Ensure large enough holes in for drainage, you can improve drainage by putting pieces of broken crocks in base

  3. Add the compost and place the tree centrally. Spread its roots so it is well balanced


Materials – as large a pot, with drainage holes,  as you can get - lots of us prefer to use square pots, as they help the roots to spread out

Soil -     either john innes no. 3

OR soil from your garden mixed with up 40 % organic material e.g leaf mold, compost from compost bin or multipurpose  compost and if you have some grit to lighten your soil


  1. the tree to the depth of the 'soil tidemark' up their stem from the original planting – remember to leave room for watering

  2. Firm in, attach them to a support if necessary by inserting a stake into the compost, firm it in and attach the tree using a figure-of-eight to avoid chafing the bark and water well.

  3. Keep well watered through the summer

  4. Water the tree well, letting it soak through. Stand the pot on feet & keep it well watered!

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