Planting a tree is a wonderful experience, and helps enhance the beauty of the earth we live on. But care and forethought should be exercised in advance to help insure that each tree can reach its full potential.
In general, it’s best to try to plant young trees if you can. It’s certainly possible to plant a mature tree, but it’s very difficult to do for the average homeowner, and very expensive to pay for if you hire someone to do it for you. If it is necessary to have a mature tree for any reason, then it may justify the expense. But otherwise planting smaller trees that can grow into your home landscaping design may be your best solution.
The best time of year to plant trees is the springtime. The second-best time of year is late fall or even winter. You may choose to plant a young tree during the summer, but if so, then be sure to use one of the new wilt-proof sprays that help the leaves avoid moisture loss until the roots get well established. And if you are planting a tree that is taller than 6 ft., try to make sure that it’s moved with a burlap root ball to protect the roots.
Preparing the soil is extremely important for both tree and shrub planting. Generally speaking, it’s good to dig a hole about 2 ft. deep and about a foot wider in each direction than the full spread of the trees roots. Then make sure that the soil at the bottom of the whole is loosened quite a bit and is mixed with peat, loam, and fertilizer, before placing the tree in the hole. If for any reason you come across a layer of hard clay or building rubble as you dig your hole, be sure to remove a good portion of a that material and substitute in its place good soil that will promote growth for the tree right away. If you fail to do this, a new tree will most often not be able to get the nutrients that it needs and stands a good chance of dying.
A lot of people overuse manure as they feel that a lot ot it will benefit the tree. However manure should only be used sparingly on the top of the tree hole and not around the roots, as it can actually burn the tree instead.
For planting seedlings that are not balled in burlap, it’s a good idea to protect it before planting by giving it a mud bath, or puddling it. This protects the roots from exposure to the air before planting. When you have dug the hole to the proper depth for the seedling, fill the hole with water to allow the soil to settle at the bottom. Once the water is drained, then put the tree in position and apply the soil and settle at around the tree’s roots. Be sure to work the soil in closely to the roots, and don’t allow air pocket’s to develop in the hole. When the hole is two thirds full, pack it with soil tightly again and fill with water. Then go ahead and fill the soil up to ground level afterward.
Planting a balled tree root is somewhat easier because the root ball is being held in place by the burlap. So dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball and plant immediately. If the ground is dry when planting, fill the hole with water and let it soak in well before you actually insert the tree. Once the tree is in position, cut the top of the burlap and roll it back a few inches. It will eventually rot away into the soil that way.
After the first year, cultivate the tree as much as you can and keep weeds away by applying straw or mulch in both the spring and fall. This will also help keep moisture in the ground as well.
By following the guidelines listed here in this article you should be able to plant any tree correctly and successfully, and enjoy it’s beauty for years to come.