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Laburnum trees are best planted as young trees or sapling though they can be grown from seed but take many years. If planting a bare root tree, the best time to do this is between October and March when the tree is dormant. Although this guide shows a newly potted tree, the process is the same for bare root trees. Potted trees can be planted at any time of year
Where to plant a laburnum
The first thing to do is choose a suitable position for your new laburnum tree. They prefer full sun but are not too fussy about soil type as long as it’s not waterlogged. They will even grow in heavy clay soil. They are also very hardy making them ideal for the UK climate.
Make sure the tree is hydrated before planting
The first thing to do is soak the roots for around 60 minutes, if it’s a bare root tree just place it in a bucket of water. If you have a potted grown tree then I recommend giving it a good soaking until the root ball has absorbed lots of water.
Warning: If you buy a potted tree as I did, if it’s newly potted then the compost will fall away from the roots. This is not a problem and you can use loose compost at the bottom of the hole and backfill.
Planting the tree
Dig a hole that is a fair bit wider than the pot or rootball (If bare rooted), and around the same depth. The tree should be planted at the same depth they were planted originally and not any deeper.
Remove the tree from the pot if it’s not bare rooted. If the tree has an established root ball then loosen the roots a little as this helps them grow into the soil.
If you have loose compost as I did, add this to the hole and mix in well. If you don’t have any compost you can mix some general fertiliser into the hole and mix it in well. Make sure fertiliser is well mixed into the soil as it can burn the roots if you don’t.
Now place the tree in the hole with the top of the roots level with the surface of the soil. I use a cane to check its level which can be very useful. Planting trees too deep can actually kill them.
Next backfill the hole with the soil you removed, if you have some compost handy you can mix some of this into the soil to help improve it. Make sure you only fill to the same level as the cane so it’s roughly the same level the tree was originally planted. Make sure you firm the soil down around the roots to remove any air pockets and firm the tree around the stem to keep it upright.
Level the soil around the tree and give it a good watering and maybe add a 5-8cm (2-3in) layer of mulch around the base of the stem which will help to keep the soil moist.
Staking the tree
Although I didn’t need to stake this tree as it was in a very sheltered position, you may need to if it’s in an exposed area or top-heavy. If you do, Hammer a stake into the ground at 45 degrees and stake the tree using a tree tie.
This will help stop the tree from swaying from side to side in the wind and help the roots gets established. If you have trouble with rabbits, you may want to also put a tree guard around the tree trunk.
Finally, remember to water the tree regularly and not let the soil dry out. You can also get tree watering kits which we have also reviewed in this guide or extend your automatic watering system if you already have one.