Skip to main content
08 8375 6600 request support contact
log in

Caring for trees

Trees make our yards and homes nicer, cooler places to be.

If you already have trees around your home or you would like to plant some, you are in the right place!

Building a new home? Find great advice in The Adelaide Garden Guide.

How to select the right tree

Take a look around your neighbourhood and see what trees have been planted and what is growing well to get some ideas.

Consider species that suit our climate, now and into the future, check your soil type. Adelaide has predominantly clay soils and some trees like free draining sandy soils

Why do you want to plant a tree? To provide shade, privacy from neighbours, to look nice with flowers or foliage or to produce fruit?

Consider whether you want a native, exotic or fruit tree. Will it be evergreen or deciduous?

To grow a successful tree, some maintenance is required. This can vary depending on the species you select. Choose a species that is right for your lifestyle.

Think about the location where you will plant it. Consider how high, wide and what shape the tree will have when it matures. Trees can have large root systems, so make sure you consider how much room they may need underground to successfully grow. Check where your house services like sewer and gas are located and plant your tree well away from these locations.

The Plant Selector tool can help you to choose a species suitable for your area.

Advanced v's Tubestock

Tubestock are young plants, grown in a small container. Advanced trees are older, they have been in the nursery longer and are purchased in large pots.

Advanced trees are more expensive and can have specific planting requirements. For this reason, do your research before purchasing.

Advanced trees

  • Instant shade/screening/privacy
  • Can produce faster fruiting and crop times
  • More expensive
  • May have specific planting requirements


  • Cheaper
  • Easier to plant
What to look for at the nursery

Tree looks strong and healthy. Look at the leaf size, colour and texture. Ask the nursery staff to show you a healthy-looking specimen.

Tree is growing evenly and is uniform. Look for a single main leader and a balanced branch structure. Check for uneven spacing between stems, crossing branches and bulging branch attachments

Tree is self-supporting. Choose a tree that can stand up by itself.

Free from pest and disease? These will stress a tree, making it harder to establish and infected tree can spread pests/diseases to its new home.

Free from injury? Look for tears in bark, snapped limbs, significant scratches.

Find out more about selecting an advanced tree Selecting a Tree - Gardening Australia (

Planting your tree

Follow 6 simple steps to planting your tree.

Watering tips

Most of a tree’s fine roots for absorbing water are in the top 10 - 30cm of soil.

Newly planted advanced trees will require a minimum 20 litres of water a week in summer to get them growing. They have been carefully looked after in the nursery and now they are in the ground it is harder for them to grow.

Irrigate the soil from halfway between the trunk and the outer edge of the tree canopy to 3m - 5m beyond the tree canopy.

Slow and deep watering encourages a deep tree root system. A drip irrigation or soaker hose works best.

Deep water mature trees every week or two during dry periods from September to April.

Why mulch?

Mulch prevents water loss, restricts weeds growth, adds nutrients to the soil and keeps soil temperature constant protecting roots.

A good quality mulch/compost mix can decompact your soil which helps tree roots to grow.

Common types of mulch are straw, bark chips and composted leaf matter.

How to apply mulch

  • Apply when soil is already moist
  • Remove or kill unwanted plants from around the base
  • Apply a layer 7-10cm in thickness
  • Keep mulch a minimum of 20cm away from the trunk as this prevents collar rot
  • Mulch at least 1m around the tree, for small trees
Pruning your tree

Safety is essential. If pruning requires working above standing level with power equipment, it is best to hire a trained arborist.

Benefits of pruning

  • Reduce the risk of branch breakage
  • Improve tree health and appearance
  • Increased flowering or fruit set

Pruning can harm the tree if not done correctly with knowledge of how the tree responds to the cuts.

Tips on how to prune young trees.

Tips on how to prune mature trees.