Miniature Woodlands

You can create your own little shade garden — and even control its size.
Shady Tree Oasis

Shady Tree Oasis

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - How to Grow

Trees such as oaks, hollies and mountain ash will grow large with time, but you can restrict their size by planting them in containers or raised beds, as shown here. Surround them with shade-loving plants to create a tiny woodland.

When to Start: Fall
At Its Best: Spring to fall
Time to Complete: 3 hours to plant

Materials Needed:

  • composted organic matter
  • drainage material
  • soil-based potting mix
  • young trees grown from seed
  • male ferns (Dryopteris filix-mas)
  • woodruff (Asperula)
  • ivy (Hedera helix)

Prepare the Bed

Buy or build a raised bed, or hire a landscaper to construct a brick bed like this one. Add drainage materials, such as broken bricks, rocks, etc, to the base and fill the bed with garden soil and some organic matter.

Plant Up

First plant your young trees, staking them if required. Position the woodland plants about 18 inches from the trees. Water well and mulch. Keep the bed watered, even after the plants have established.

Top Tip: Staking and Feeding

When your seedlings have grown, you can either plant them in large pots, in raised beds, or in the ground. In windy sites, those planted in beds or the soil may require staking. Check your trees regularly and loosen the ties as the trunks expand. Remove the stakes after a couple of years. In spring, apply a shrub and tree fertilizer to the soil. For those in pots, apply a slow-release fertilizer.

Stake Trees When Planting

Stake Trees When Planting

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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Brambles and trees can hide potential jewels, says Brett McLeod, author of The Woodland Homestead. Use his tips to make the most of your wooded land.

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Planting Trees

Use these planting tips to ensure your trees get the best start possible.

How to Plant a Tree

To give your new tree a good chance for success, follow these simple planting instructions.

Planting Bare-Root Trees

About four weeks before planting, clear the site of weeds.

How to Plant Trees from Containers

Prepare your site by clearing it of weeds and, if you have very sandy or infertile soil, digging in organic matter over a wide area. 

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