Planting trees to achieve longevity in the landscape, especially the harsh urban landscape, is challenging and often represented as so difficult as to be impossible. There is no question that there are challenges and the difficulties should never be underestimated but it is true, in the words of Tony Kirkham, ‘It is really difficult to photograph a well planted young tree and really easy to photograph a badly planted one.’ Experience suggests that this is not an exaggeration and my own library of photographs would reinforce this view.
The purpose of this manual is to try to strip away some of the mythologies which constitute the plethora of advice and commercial products surrounding tree planting and outline some of the base principles. It is often these base principles which are either misunderstood or badly executed. Planting techniques vary according to the size of the tree, the nursery production method, the location and individual site constraints and several other factors but there are fundamentals which apply irrespective of any of the above.
This manual attempts to outline commonalities which are essential to successful tree planting. It then explains the principal nursery production methods to be found in the UK and goes on to explain in detail the planting of containerised trees in both soft and hard landscapes. The focus of this detail will be on containerised trees as this is ‘what Barcham does.’ No case is made for the advantage of any one production system over another and the commonalities apply to all nursery production systems.
There are also sections on nutrition and soil ameliorants, support systems and post planting
maintenance and management.
The manual is not intended to be a reference work but a guide. Throughout, the user will be guided to references and further reading where specialist advice or specific challenges need to be addressed.
The intention is to focus on the basics. I hope you, the reader, will find this manual useful and stimulating in some small way and encourage further reading on the subject.
It would be brilliant if the statement made by Tony Kirkham can be reversed and photographing well planted trees could become the norm rather than the rarity.