Trees & Landscaping

How To Plant a Tree



I am not sure if you have seen the movie the Lorax or if you  have read the book, but there is a great message about  cutting down trees and caring for them.

At the end of the book the Once-Ler gives the little boy a  Truffula seed and tells him to plant it, treat it with care, give  it clean water and fresh air.. protect it from axes.


On that note, I will chat about how to plant a tree.
The best time to plant trees is in the fall or early spring.   The cooler weather allow the trees to establish roots in it’s new home before the rain in the spring and the heat of the summer.  Rain and heat stimulate new top growth. However, you can plant trees really any time during the “growth season”.

You will need to prepare the site before planting and make sure you care for the tree well to reduce transplant shock.  You will want it to get established in it’s new location.

Follow these steps below to reduce stress and have a successful tree planting: 

1. Dig a shallow, broad planting hole.  You will want to make the hole about 3 times the diameter of the root ball. You want to make the hole wide because the roots need loose soil to expand it’s new roots.  This will allow it to establish its new home more quickly. If the existing soil is compacted make sure you take extra care to break it up. Lastly, the hole needs to be only as deep as the root ball.

2. Trunk flare. Where the roots spread at the base of the tree is the root trunk flare.  It needs to be partially visible when you plant the tree.  If not, make sure you remove some of the soil from the top of the root ball.

3. Make sure you didn’t plant too deep or too shallow.  Double check check to make sure the hole has been dug to the appropriate depth.  Most of the roots will develop in the top 12 inches of the soil.  The new roots will have a hard time growing if the tree is planted too deeply because there will not be enough oxygen.  Please remember to life the tree by the root ball.  You could damage the tree if you grab it by the trunk.  Now, make sure you have the tree straight and not an an angle when you fill the hole.  It can be hard to straighten it out once you have all of the soil added.

4. Pack the soil gently. Put the tree in the hold and fill it about a third full.  Gently pack the soil around the base and remove any string, wire or burlap. Always be very careful not to hurt the trunk or roots in the process. Now, fill the rest of the hole and firmly yet gently pack the soil.

5. Mulch. You will want to add mulch next.  It holds in moisture and keeps the temperatures stable.  The new tree will not handle temperature swings very well. The mulch will also keep the from grass and weeds from taking away tree nutrients. You will want a layer of about 2 to 4 inches. Any mulch will work: pine straw, shredded bark, peat moss, wood chips.  Be sure the trunk of the tree is not covered. Otherwise, it could cause the bark at the base to decay.

6. Keep your newly planted tree happy with water, fertilizer, the appropriate sunlight and love.

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