How to plant up a conifer

Conifers make great hedges, provide stout, evergreen structure and are fascinating trees that come in a wealth of colours and cone sizes, but best of all is the wildlife they attract

Conifers provide a fantastic source of shelter for birds throughout the year, but particularly in winter, when they can hide and keep warm among the branches.

If you’re lucky you can see goldcrests, firecrests and crossbills as well as squirrels feeding in them, too.

It’s crucial to plant and look after conifers well in their early years, so they can grow into healthy trees, but to start with, check whether the conifer you’ve chosen will fit the space you’ve earmarked for it.

Conifers work well in pots, so their growth can be curbed if planted in a roomy container.

Once they’re planted, be sure they get enough water (but not too much), and once they’ve become established trees, they won’t need very much at all, except during dry periods.

If planted in a container, though, it’s always best to check the moisture level of the compost.

For new trees, give them a general feed and mulch in late winter.

Once they grow larger and healthy, after two or three years, you can pretty much leave them be.