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What is tree planting compost?

5 Minute Read
Planting trees is a long-term future investment, it's worth taking your time to make sure the groundwork is taken care of at the beginning. Choosing the right compost for the job means the trees have the best chance of flourishing in future.
What is tree planting compost?
Tree-planting compost is like a soil improver and it is meant for working into the ground before planting trees and shrubs, as an alternative to regular garden compost. Specific tree planting composts have been fortified with nutrients to aid with establishment and growth.

When worked into the ground it aids the successful establishment of newly planted trees and shrubs by slowly releasing the nutrients on a long-term basis the trees need to mature. This specialist compost adds valuable organic matter and helps to aid with drainage to ensure the roots are getting the nutrients they need. Effectively, tree planting compost gives young trees a helping hand and makes sure they get the best start in life.

How to use tree planting compost?
Depending on the product you are using, some will ask for the mixture to be added to soil or rotavate into the soil and others can be used as a mulch. Below are the products that we supply and how to use them.

Melcourt Topgrow Tree & Shrub Compost: 
• Excavate a planting pit several sizes larger than root ball. 
• Blend TopgrowTM with the excavated soil, taking care not to smear the edges or base of the planting pit.

Normal soil (loam) 1 part Melcourt TopgrowTM to 4 parts soil.
Difficult soil (sand & clay) : 1 part Melcourt TopgrowTM to 3 parts soil
For best results, apply a mulch from Melcourt’s range of Landscape Mulches.

Levington TPMC Tree Planting & Mulching Compost:
For whips allow 1 bag for about 4 - 5 trees; for specimens up to 3m tall allow two bags per tree. Spread evenly and fork or rotavate into the top 10cm of soil.

Sinclair Tree & Shrub Planting Medium:
Use as a planting compost as well as a soil conditioner or mulch - this is a peat-based compost prepared from rich dark peat with high buffer capacity and high moisture retention for use when planting out into the ground.

How to plant trees
Once you have chosen your tree planting compost it's time to start planting, 

1. Dig the hole - it should be nearly as deep as the tree’s root ball and three times as wide. Don’t plant your tree or shrub too deep as it will die.

2.    Prepare the hole – disturb the soil around the base and sides of the hole if it is compacted. A garden fork is ideal for this.

3.    Remove the plant from the container – soaking the pot before planting will dampen the roots and make it easier to remove from the pot.

4.    Tease out the roots – where coiled around the pot, gently pull the roots out to encourage them to grow into the soil.

5.    Position your plant – plant high, with up to 25% of the root ball higher than the surrounding soil level.

6.    Backfill the hole with soil – fill around the roots and generously taper up to cover all roots.

7.    Eliminate air pockets – add water to the hole after backfilling halfway to eliminate air pockets. This will reduce the chance of dead roots.

8.    Mulch – add approximately 2 inches of mulch on the dug-up area.

9.    Install tree stakes for support – tie these loosely using a stake tie.

10.   Water – for the first year, new trees will need watering 2 to 3 times per week, then weekly thereafter in dry months.

For more guidance on tree planting, take a look at our helpful Tree planting guide.

Tree planting aftercare
Regularly water to give the roots a good soaking but distribute the water around a wider circumference area to avoid flooding the roots. In the summer you could invest in a Treegator Drip Irrigation Bag used by landscape gardeners and local authorities throughout the UK.

Maintain your trees with regular mulching, this discourages weeds from growing and competing for nutrients while keeping the soil temperature consistent.

To give your trees an extra boost of growth, use a general fertiliser in late winter or early spring. 

Tree Planting Essentials 

Levington TPMC Tree Planting Compost

Formulated with sufficient nitrogen for early growth, together with phosphate, potassium and a full range of trace elements for rapid establishment and healthy growth.


Sinclair Tree Planting Compost

A peat based compost prepared from rich dark peat with high buffer capacity and high moisture retention for use when planting out into the ground.


Melcourt Topgrow
Tree Compost

Melcourt Topgrow is a carefully formulated tree & shrub planting compost. It is 100% peat free with balanced slow release nutrients, used to aid the successful establishment of newly planted trees and shrubs. Peat free and RHS endorsed.







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Comments (1)

Miggy Lenon16/06/21
I have read lots and lots of articles on this subject and yours really stands out thank you.



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