How to Specify Your Trees

When selecting your trees from Hillier, along with the variety you will need to specify the size of tree, requested as girth size in cm. Our weights and measures tables indicate how different girth sizes translate in terms of initial tree height.

All trees start their lives growing in our fields. You can specify yours directly from the field as root-ball; or container-grown from our container tree nursery. We consider the benefits of each below and our table indicates container pot size or root-ball size and weight depending on girth.

Table showing approximate height/girth size

Girth (cm)DescriptionHeight (m)
10-12Select standard3.0-3.5
12-14Heavy standard3.5-4.0
14-16Extra heavy standard4.0-4.5
16-18Advanced nursery stock4.0-4.5
18-20Advanced nursery stock4.5-5.0
40-45Super Semi-Mature7.0+

Rootball Trees

November to April

Here the tree is lifted from the ground with the soil intact around the root system. On removal from the ground the rootball is wrapped in biodegradable hessian and non-galvanised wire. The rootball should be planted intact with the hessian and wire left on. Once planted, the non-galvanised wire soon breaks down and the hessian will rot, allowing the root system to develop. The whole benefit of ‘rootballing’ is that the root system remaining after lifting (you will lose about 35% of the root on a regularly transplanted tree) will not be disturbed during handling, transportation and planting.

The benefits are:

  • Root system once lifted will not be disturbed
  • Packaging bio-degrades
  • Root-balled trees are protected from the rigours of commercial planting

Points to remember:

  • Certain species that are field grown must be rootballed e.g. Fagus, Betula, Quercus, Liriodendron, Liquidambar, Cercidiphyllum, Eucalyptus, Gingko, Parrotia and all conifers
  • Rootballed trees should be planted with hessian and wire left on to maintain the integrity of the root system

Container Grown Trees

Available all-year-round

Container grown trees have a ‘complete’ root system and should therefore establish well once planted. Trees are lifted either bare-rooted or root-balled and placed in a container (between November and March) and then grown on for at least one growing season, i.e. a tree ‘potted up’ in January would be fully rooted and ready for planting by September.

The benefits are:

  • No root loss during lifting
  • Planting can take place 12 months of the year
  • Hillier-handles make handling on site easier

Points to remember:

  • Quercus ilex should always be specified as container grown
  • Hillier trees are peat free

Aerial view tree nursery trees growing in rows