If you do not plant your bare root plants on receipt, don't panic. They are well wrapped and can be left in their packaging in a cool dry frost free place for at least a week. Hedge plants come in special bags and larger and fruit trees come with wooden supports and in barley straw.
If they are going to be hanging about for a while you might want to "heel them in" - i.e. leave them tied up but without their packaging, and pop them into a temporary hole. Make sure the earth is well tamped down around the roots when replacing it.
A small percentage of bare root plants will fail, but this can be considerably reduced by making sure the roots do not dry out while planting. If possible chose a frost and wind free damp day, and keep the plants in a bucket of water while planting out.
Once planted, keep the base of the plants clear to a 1m diameter, or a strip around 75cm for a hedge. The most common cause of failure among young plants is being out-competed by grass and weeds.
*PLEASE NOTE: we put this video together a while ago and it's due an update! If you can avoid using any kind of herbicide please do.*
You'll need two staggered rows totalling 5 plants per metre to create a traditional country hedge. I've written a blog on hedge planting, which has all the griff.
Forestry schemes traditionally reckon on planting between 450 and 900 trees per acre, including around 5 - 10% shrubs and smaller species like Hazel. Select the trees according to site characteristics. Keep grass away from around the base of the plants as they establish, and we also suggest using the 1.2m forest guards for the broadleaf trees to protect from deer and rabbits. If you have fallow deer you will need even taller. Losses of up to 20% are uncommon but not unusual in new schemes, so it's worth trying to reduce these as much as possible.
More recently, rewilding has challenged this orthodoxy, although there are practical challenges to overcome if you want to go down this route!
Planting Fruit Trees
Don't plant fruit trees too close together; orchard trees on the rootstocks we sell should be 6-8 metres apart.
The plants should be planted in holes large enough to take them comfortably; for maiden size trees they won't be huge. Don't dig them beforehand as they'll only fill up with water, and don't put any compost or manure in the holes. You can use mycorrhizal fungi or just a handful of old-fashioned bonemeal if you like, to help them on their way.
The plants should be planted with their graft unions - which are clearly visible - a little above ground level. Otherwise the scion variety will make its own roots. The maiden trees will NOT REQUIRE STAKING. They are small plants on a vigorous rootstock and will quickly establish strong healthy root systems. Spiral guards are useful to prevent strimmer as well as rabbit damage, and should be supported with a cane.
We've written a very good blog about how to help your plants through spells of extreme heat.
Fruit Tree Sizes
All of the rootstocks we use for fruit trees are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, and are typically the most vigorous we can find, usually producing standard as opposed to bush trees. They are typically supplied as maidens - 1 year old plants. Sometimes we also supply "bush" size, which is a year older.
Standard (5 - 6m)
We do however, offer many native trees as standards, which are generally free of side branches to at least 1 metre, at which level their girth is measured in cm. As an example, an 8/10 standard has a circumference of between 8 and 10cms measured 1 metre up from the level of the soil when planted. As even trees of the same variety grow at different rates, but as a rule of thumb the majority of standard trees are their size or a little more in feet. So an 8/10 standard is generally between 8 to 11 feet tall. Usually our standards are bigger rather than smaller - an 8/10 is more likely to be 10-11 feet than 8-9 feet tall. Take particular care when planting specimen and ornamental trees. All standard trees need a strong stake and a tree tie (2 for 10/12 standards) to prevent wind rock.