How much space do I need for a tree?

It is a common problem to see trees failing in positions with too little soil volume to accommodate them. Our local supermarket in Ely demonstrates only too well that trees chiselled into planting pits within hard areas are never going to thrive. These hornbeam were planted into positions where they could access only a cubic metre of soil and look at the result! This scheme probably looked great on an architect’s drawing board but practically these trees were destined to fail.

Trees that have the ability to get big such as oak, lime, hornbeam etc need about 30 cubic metres of rooting capacity to fulfil their potential. You very rarely see trees planted with this in mind in urban areas. Try not to entomb your newly planted tree in a hard area of paving or driveway, but rather link it to green areas such as lawn or bordering land to give the tree the soil volume it needs to thrive.

For those of you where this is not an option, all is not lost! Pick trees that are small in ultimate size, such as Hibiscus Resi or Photinia Red Robin as these need much lower soil volumes to support them. When thinking on where to put a tree focus on underground soil volume rather than above ground look. The latter is a given if the roots are empowered. If in doubt on what to choose, give us a call, we would be happy to advise.


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