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Some help with new trees please

AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 322
Morning folks

After three seasons in our new house, we have a plan for our new garden design which includes a requirement for two, possibly three, trees to act as a fairly precise screen to overlooking windows. The idea is that a strategically-placed tree on either side of our 15x12m garden will block out both neighbours' bedroom windows from our patio view.

My shortlist is down to amelanchier x grandiflora Robin Hill, sorbus commixta Embley (I think!) and malus Comtesse de Paris. What I am after is a tree with no more than 4-5m ultimate height, which will offer a screen at a height of around 3-4m, which has some year round interest and which will be good for wildlife. I hope these choices tick those boxes!

Because the garden is being overhauled next year, none of these trees will be planted this year. But what I intend to do is buy this year, grow on in a protected spot for the next year, possibly potting on in spring to plant out next autumn (2021). The idea is that I could buy a younger tree this year and use a year to grow it ready for planting out as opposed to buy a young unestablished tree and plant it straight out. 

My questions, as an amateur garden and to the hive expertise of forum members, are as follows:

1. Of the sorbus and malus varieties, are Embley and Comtesse de Paris good for wildlife and good at forming quite dense trees for a screen (without being dense enough to create heavy shade); and, perhaps more importantly

2. Would my plan re: planting be sensible, i.e. to buy in autumn (and would you go for pot grown 10L or bare root then?), grow on in an airpot or slotpot for a year and then plant out as a better established young tree next autumn?

Any advice will be gratefully received. As one can probably tell, this is my first foray into trees!

Thank you in advance.


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    In general, the younger a tree is when it is planted in the ground, the better it will establish and grow.  Larger specimens take longer to establish and will usually just sit there doing little for the first year after planting, so nothing really to be gained and lots more attention required.   Personally, I would wait until the ground is ready and then buy them bare-root in Autumn 2021 and plant them then.
    If you do go with your potting plan, be sure to use some of your own garden soil when you pot them on which will help them adjust to their future ground conditions.  Potted trees can be planted at any time of the year so that does give you some flexibility if the garden overhaul timing doesn't go to plan.  Don't be tempted to buy large specimens as those take much longer to establish and younger trees will overtake them when trying to achieve the sort of height you require.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 322
    Thanks all.

    Would the ideal be to start off the tree from bare root in autumn? I could buy this autumn, bare rooted in an airpot or slotpot, and then grow it on for a year before planting into the ground (taking on board Bob's tip about including garden soil in the pot).

    Does mailordertrees come recommended? I had been looking there but also at Hedges Direct, Ashridge Nurseries and Ornamental Trees. I don't know which tree nurseries have the best reputation.
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,215
    I agree with Bob.
    Prepare ground well.
    When ready in autumn 2021 buy your trees and plant straight away into the warm ground.

    It will be far better than keeping them for 12 months in pots and maybe forgetting to water them.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    I would recommend Mail Order Trees, had a few from them over the years.
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 322
    Thanks all.

    MOT don't sell the sorbus commixta Embley so would anyone be able to recommend an alternative - it is stocked by Ornamental Trees and Bluebell Nursery.
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