Tree Planting Techniques:
Tree planting at its basic is pretty simple. Buy a tree, dig a hole, put tree in hole, bury! Seems simple enough right? Even though it can be that simple there are a few things you should do to give your new tree the best chance at survival.
Here we go:
- Choose the right tree. Make sure the tree you are planting is the right tree for the location. If your planting close to a structure, power lines, or access area choose a tree that will not get to big. There are a lot of ornamental type trees that fit this bill. If your planting in the middle of the yard or along property lines choose a larger shade tree, or evergreen. Make sure the Hardiness Zone is correct for our area. We are generally in the 3b to 4b zones. This is a cool interactive map for zones: Hardiness zone interactive map
- Once your tree, and location is selected its time to dig the hole. Dig a broad shallow hole about 2 to 3 times the width of the root ball. Only dig the hole as deep as the root ball is tall. You do not want to bury any of the trunk of the tree. This can lead to rotting. Scrap the sides of the hole to roughen up. This will help the roots establish faster.
- Time to plant the tree: If your tree is in a container, remove the container and spread out any circular or girdled roots. If the container is stuck, a good trick to loosen it is to tap around the outside of the container. If you are planting a burlap tree remove any string, burlap, and wire from the top and sides the root ball. If possible remove all of the wire cage.
- Locate the root flare (the area where the roots begin and the trunk ends). Place the tree in the hole making sure the root flare is at soil level. Make sure the tree is straight and being to backfill the soil into the hole. As you go, tamp down the soil to eliminate any air pockets.
- Once the tree is backfilled you will want to add bark mulch around the tree. This should be applied about 2 to 4 inches deep and expand at least as large as the root ball/flare. This helps retain moisture and keep the root zone cooler.
- If you are tree planting in a high wind area, or if other elements create a need for staking – do so. If you can get away without staking it is generally better for the tree long term health. A tree stake can be thought of like a crutch. It helps if need be, but it also creates an environment where the tree takes longer to establish its own root support system.
- Now that you have the tree planted its time to water. You will want to keep the root ball and surrounding soil moist at all times. This can be accomplished either through natural rain fall or irrigation.
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