Skip to content

Straight    to   the Curve

Doug Holloway’s Blog & Films - Life, all things Landscape & other stuff...

03 Country Estate Toot Baldon Oxfordshire

Large Tree Planting. What is a good size to choose for plants and trees in a new garden?

I normally recommend to my clients that we plant trees, shrubs and perennials in a hierarchy of sizes. That means with slower growing items such as trees and shrubs, its best to plant them at least a certain size so we can enjoy the garden the way it is meant to be as soon as it is finished. If the plant needs to be pruned specifically or a particular shape developed, this is another time it’s a good idea to plant a mature specimen. 

I don’t believe in planting large trees for no reason but when the size of the job is large enough then it seems a real benefit to plant large specimens straight away.

Edited Plants Mid Good
Perennials establish quickly from tiny P9 pots but with larger shrubs its better to plant with some established shape (Snowy mespilus above).

Thankfully there are numerous large plant and tree nurseries in the uk and the continent.

Img 0497
A low loader carefully transports a tree from delivery lorry to site position, Oxfordshire.

Here you can see the process of large tree planting, The main issue is the size of the root balls to sustain such a large plant, this makes moving the plants difficult requiring low loaders or cranes, and a particular issue is the delicacy of the root ball vs the weight of the plant/tree, this means the planting holes must be dug very accurately in order for the plant to as much as possible go into the hole the first time.  

Img 0499

Img 0505
Large specimens are planted early in the works

Normally I like to plant my perennials in very small P9 pots, these seem to root out very quickly in the first year, then plant smaller shrubs which I hope to become 1-1.5m high usually as 50-60 cm in height when first planted.

Img 0035
Perennials I have positioned personally before planting. Mostly very small P9 pots which will often establish well in the first year.

Trees I want to be 2-5m high I plant as mature specimens usually 2-3 m in height already. However, as I have said, when a site is very big there is a benefit to planting large topiary and mature trees to really create impact on a scale that reflects the garden, as the job will probably have a high cost to create the higher proportional costs of planting larger plants is balanced to the job costs and thus makes sense.

Img 0109
Dave a Landscaper planting mature box

Heavy equipment is often used to achieve the planting and these larger specimens go in before a lot of the ground work is done requiring accurate drawings for positioning before the garden is built to get them in place. Drainage and irrigation must be considered for these larger root balls. The drainage was checked and improved during planting, for this box ball garden we see above and below.

12 Country Estate Toot Baldon Oxfordshire
Doug Holloway Photo

Doug Holloway is a landscape architect, and writer. He lives in Oxfordshire with this Wife and Daughter. In his spare time he enjoys, film, food, walking in nature & surfing. In recent years, having met his Wife, who is of Turkish origin, he has also enjoyed Turkish culture, including food, noticeable in his expanded waistline, swimming in the silky Mediterranean of Bodrum, and exploring the wild, arid landscapes of the region… when it is not too hot.