Tree Selection, Planting & Aftercare


Before planting make sure you have considered the site carefully and what it is you hope to achieve from planting a tree.

An example of poor pruning known as “topping” – not only
does it spoil the appearance of a tree it can create hazards
and entry points for infection and decay.
Image: Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service,

Trees can be planted at any time of the year if they have been grown in containers or pots but it is much better to wait until leaf fall before planting any tree. This is because the tree has the winter in which to develop a root system which is better able to support the tree during the growing season. Planting during winter (December to February) also allows you to plant “bare root” transplants which are generally cheaper and easier to establish than container grown or root balled plants.

The old adage it better to “plant a £100 tree in a £200 hole” rather than the other way round holds good here. More trees die from poor drainage than anything else so ensuring the planting site is well prepared pays early dividends.

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Newly planted trees are at their most vulnerable in the first year after planting. All weeds must be removed and regular watering given even if rain has fallen. In some cases e.g. small bare root transplants, watering need only be applied during drought periods otherwise watering should be applied at the rate of 25 litres per tree 3 times a week. Mulches are strongly recommended to help smother weeds and retain moisture.

Trees & the Law

One of the most frequently asked questions in is do I need permission to cut or prune my tree? The answer as always is it depends!

Trees in Guernsey are protected in one of 2 ways:

  1. Tree Protection Orders (TPOs). These are served on the owner and copied to immediate neighbours. TPOs protect trees with a high public amenity from deliberate damage to the crown, stem and root system of a tree. A breach of a TPO is a criminal offence and may result in heavy fines and imprisonment. To find out if your tree has a TPO go the States of Guernsey Environment Department’s web search page
  2. A planning condition relating to an approval for development granted on the site on which the tree stands. The condition will generally specify that a tree or trees cannot “lopped, topped” or felled without the permission of the Environment Department. If you do not know the planning history of your property and you wish to fell, “lop” or “top” a tree send in a written enquiry to the Planning Division of the Environment Department by asking what planning controls apply to your trees. A general purpose “Pre‑Application Enquiry form” can be downloaded and printed off for the purpose.