When preparing your ground to plant a tree you need to make a hole about 1 metre (3-4ft) in diameter. If planting in the middle of a lawn, skim the turf and dispose and then take out the top foot (30cm) of soil and set to one side. Fork your sub soil to a further 1ft (30cm) to loosen it thoroughly.
Drive your tree stake into the hole and replace some of the top soil with a little tree compost, which normally incorporates some peat. It is also beneficial to mix in about 120g/4oz of bone-meal or similar granular fertiliser. Place your tree next to the stake and ensure that the top roots are level with the undisturbed soil level. If so, continue to replace the top soil giving the tree a gentle shake to avoid air pockets and ensuring the soil is going around the roots (this is particularly important with bare root specimens, with containerised trees you should remove the tree from the pot and gently pull out the roots a little before planting). Firm the soil a little around the stem with your foot and tie your tree to the stake using a rubber adjustable tree tie.
Spread a thick layer of mulch or bark around the tree to suppress weeds. Water your newly-planted tree frequently, particularly in warm weather.
Some of our favourite trees for autumn colour are: Acers, Carpinus, Liquidamber (Sweet Gum) & Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’.