Trees can be bought as bare-root specimens from November until March; these will probably be cheaper than containerised. Root ball trees (inset right) are expensive but worth buying if you want quick results. These are planted with their mesh surround, which might be wire or hessian.
All trees need to be carefully planted if they are to survive. This means preparing a decent-sized planting hole, about three times as wide as the pot. Add fertiliser to the bottom of the hole to get the tree off to a good start.
Whatever the tree, the roots need soaking before planting. If you are planting a bare root tree spread them out from the centre. If the tree is in a pot, make sure the roots aren’t pot bound; if they are, encourage them to spread out into the hole you have prepared. You should not need to do anything to the rootballed types.
All trees must be planted at exactly the level they were in the pot or ground (see inset bottom). On bare root trees, the part of the trunk that was in the soil will be darker.
Water trees after planting then mulch, leaving a small, mulch-free circumference around the stem.
For the first year after planting, keep trees weed-free and water every 10 days if no rain falls. You will be doing your tree proud if you continue this regime for a second year.