Planting Your New Tree

What you need to know hazardous trees

Picture this. You and your spouse have just arrived home from the nursery with a new bundle of joy and you just can’t wait to dig a hole and plant it in the backyard. Of course the bundle of joy we’re talking about is…your new tree! But before you grab your shovel to begin your task, take a moment to consider these tree-planting tips.

Research and Planning
Long before your new tree was purchased, you should have done some research and planning. First make sure that you select the type of tree that will complement your landscape and thrive in your yard. If you are unsure as to what variety of tree will work best, ask your local nursery or a certified arborist for assistance.

Then you’ll need to spend some time on site selection. The classic mistake is planting a new tree too close to buildings, driveways, sidewalks or power lines. When the tree matures it can interfere with one of these structures and cause damage. Trees need to be planted where they have sufficient room too grow. A tree planted in the wrong location will never have a chance to reach its potential.

The Planting Process
After you’ve chosen the right tree and the best location, you’re ready to plant your tree. Use a shovel and dig a hole large enough to fit the root ball of the tree. But be careful not to burry the tree too deep into the hole. (More on that in a moment.) Next remove the synthetic wrap around the bottom of the tree and take off any wire that might be holding everything in place.

Plant It Low and It Won’t Grow
Now it’s time to plant your tree. Carefully lower the root ball of the tree into the hole and backfill with soil. However do not cover the entire bulb of the tree with soil. This makes it much harder for a young tree to thrive in its new environment. Instead, make sure to plant your tree so that the top of the soil that came with the tree is either even with surrounding soil or extends up to two inches above the ground. An easy way to remember this tip is to memorize an old saying used by arborists …“Plant it low and it won’t grow…plant it high and it won’t die.”

Don’t Use Potting Soil or Compost
Another tree planting tip is to backfill the hole with soil from your property. This is important because trees need to root into the existing site conditions. Never use potting soil or compost, as they will act as a sponge and pull much needed water away from your new tree.

Brace Your Tree Only When Necessary
You may be surprised to learn that most new trees don’t need to be braced with cables. In fact this type of support system can actually hinder root development because the new tree senses the artificial support and doesn’t feel the urgency to grow it’s own support system. (Roots.) If a support system is required, it should be in place for a maximum of six months. By that time the tree will be rooted and well on its way to a long, healthy life.

Jon Wilbur is an ISA Certified Arborist and co-owner of Pinellas Tree Service, in Clearwater.

Free Information Guide
Want to learn more? Our FREE Information Guide: “How To Choose The Best Tree Service Company To Care For Your Trees” can help. Just call us at 727-474-0356 for your copy.

Copyright, 2005, All Rights Reserved

Jon Wilbur