Planting trees on your property is one of the most economical ways to improve its value and it also has social, communal and environmental benefits. Once you’ve committed to planting the perfect new tree in your yard, actually planting it can still be intimidating. How can you ensure the tree you purchase will grow to be a healthy addition to your yard?
As an ISA certified arborist with Ryan Lawn & Tree, Spencer Wicks is an expert at tree and plant care. He passes along the importance of planting trees and offers five basic tips to ensure the new tree thrives in your yard.
Many studies show adding trees to the environment can offer a multitude of benefits for individuals and society as a whole. Here are just a few benefits of planting trees to the urban landscape.
Identify the best place for a tree and do your research to find which variety will be best suited for that location. Think about size, height, growth pattern and what type of flowers, fruit or seeds it might produce.
Making a visit to your local nursery or consulting with a certified arborist are both good ways to get guidance on selecting the right type of tree to meet your goals.
Before you dig, remember to have utility lines located and marked so you will know where you can safely break ground.
Digging the right size hole with the proper depth and width is very important.
“A common problem with tree plantings is the tree gets planted too deep,” Wicks said.
A general rule is to dig the hole 1-2 times the width of the root ball and deep enough that the root flare (the point where the trunk of the tree widens and becomes roots) remains at or above the soil surface.
Whether you plan to plant in the spring or choose a fall planting, you should plan to plant your new trees during the dormant season — after the leaves fall off in autumn or early in the spring before trees start budding. Planting during this time will give the roots systems of your tree a chance to become established in your yard before the warm season spurs fresh growth.
If you’re able to plant balled, burlap-wrapped or container trees, you’ll have good luck with planting anytime throughout the growing season as long as you care for it properly and watch for transplant shock. Planting during this time will give the roots systems of your tree a chance to become established in your yard before the warm season spurs fresh growth.
The goal is to get the tree in the hole with as little disruption to the root system as possible. This often involves removing twine, burlap or the wire basket from around the root ball. Taking these casings off with as little interference as possible is ideal.
If the tree resided in a container, lightly rough-up the outer part of the root ball to keep the roots from circling in an unhealthy growth pattern.
Adding amendments to the soil when planting improves soil conditions. Wicks recommends amended products which increase the tree’s root development, moisture retention and reduces transplant shock.
Once the tree is properly placed, backfill the hole by layering soil around the root ball. Carefully tamp the soil down to eliminate air pockets. Repeat the process until the hole is filled. Watering around the root ball will also help the soil to settle in.
Mulching around the tree helps moderate soil temperature, retain moisture and protect from mechanical damage from a lawnmower. Cover about two to three feet around the base of the tree with about one to two inches of mulch, being sure to keep the mulch away from the trunk and root flare.
Stake the tree to keep the young tree upright until roots have established. Wicks recommends keeping the stakes on for approximately a year. After that time of year, the stakes should be removed as keeping them on too long can disrupt the development of the tree.
“Get into a watering schedule right away,” Wicks said. This involves noting the type of soil the tree is planted in and how much water it will need. Trees may also need supplemental water during dry winter months. The key is to water less often and more deeply.
New trees can benefit from fertilization within the first year of planting to jump-start growth.
While following these tips will help guide you through proper tree planting, if planting your own tree gives you too much anxiety, contact the Pros at Ryan Lawn & Tree for help. We’re happy to answer your questions about the different types of trees and help you identify the tree that meets your desires. We’re also happy to answer questions about preparing the tree planting site or other proper planting techniques. Give Ryan Lawn & Tree a call at 855.216.2293 for experienced insight from trained arborists. You’ll love working with our team!