News and Ideas

David Domoney on Planting Fruit Trees

Ensuring that you have the right tools for completing your gardening jobs is essential, as it saves you time and effort, and provides the best care for your plants. This is extremely important when planting trees in your garden, as you want to give them the best chance possible to establish.

Between December and March is the ideal time for getting trees planted in your garden, provided the ground is not frozen. This is because the soil contains plenty of moisture, giving the roots time to establish as the growing season kicks in.

Preparing the ground

The first thing you need to do is dig a hole where you would like your tree to be positioned. When choosing the position, consider exposure, sunlight, soil type, and how much room for growth your tree will have. The requirements can depend on the tree, but for fruit trees try to choose a sunny spot.

There are several spades you could use to dig your hole, and AMES certainly has a broad collection to choose from. These include digging spades for larger jobs, border spades for tighter spaces, and even planting spades, specifically curated to make planting trees, shrubs, and bulbs more efficient.

For this job, I suggest you use AMES Tools Carbon Steel Pointed Shovel. The pointed blade is perfect for working on heavier, compacted soil, which is more commonly found in the winter months, helping you to get into the earth more easily. The pointed shovel also has a comfort step, giving more momentum and leverage to dig deep with minimal effort required. Plus, the large pan size means you will have your planting hole emptied and ready for your tree in no time. Make sure your hole measures three times the width of your intended tree’s rootball.

Planting your tree

Before placing your tree, soak the rootball in a bucket of water, making sure the tree is thoroughly watered before removing it. Then, gently tease the roots free, especially if they have been tightly packed together. This will increase their chances of growing outward, into the new soil.

Make sure to add in fresh compost to create a comfy cushion for the roots to grow into, and add in a handful of bonemeal as food, mixing it well in.

Position the tree in the hole, using a piece of wood or a similar alternative check that it is level. Adjust the positioning until you’re happy, then use your AMES Carbon Steel Pointed Shovel to fill the hole back in again around the rootball. Once all the soil is back in place, use the heel of your foot to firm the soil back down, eliminating any air pockets.


Now that your tree is in place, water it well and mulch over the top to help your plant retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Bear in mind to leave a 10cm perimeter around the base of the tree trunk without mulch, to allow the tree space to grow.

Staking your young trees is good practice to help them to grow standing tall, without the risk of heavy winds blowing them over. Depending on your tree, you can stake in many ways. The easiest way is to position a stake at a 45-degree angle of the main stem, with the top end facing into prevailing wind. Make sure the stem is hammered into the ground clear of the rootball. Using a spacer, secure the stake to the tree approximately 40-50 cm above the ground level. The spacer stops the tree from any friction damage from the stake.

Planting fruit trees is a wonderful way to add interest to your garden, with delicious rewards to look forward to. Make the whole process easier and more efficient by using AMES Tools’ carefully curated and forged digging tool range.