Put support system in place at start

Adding supports for a standard tree. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Adding supports for a standard tree. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Give any new or secondary plantings the best start possible by choosing a suitable site and preparing it well.

Consider how much daylight or direct sunlight the plant will receive, and whether the spot offers enough space, given the height and spread predicted.

Dig a hole deeper and wider than the root-ball, and enrich it with organic material, plus phosphate-based fertiliser. Water before and after planting and make the surface firm with your heel.

Standard trees, ornamental and fruit types will need a supporting stake until they have a sturdy root system.

If a single, upright support is being used, it’s best hammered home before planting to avoid root damage.

Where two posts, one either side of the plant, are preferred, they can be driven in after planting. My preference is two short posts driven in at an angle of 45 degrees from either side. This offers sturdy support close to the ground and encourages the canopy to sway slightly, which stimulates root development.

Finally comes the tie between stem and support.

Resolve to check these regularly because too tight and they become imbedded in the plant.