For some senior gardeners, planting a tree or shrub in your landscape may be a difficult task. The loss of a newly planted tree may be expensive as well as heartbreaking. Following proper planting techniques should avoid any mistakes.
Here are a few tips to make the job a lot easier. No need to dig deep holes…. shallow wide holes are better. Planting hole is the same depth as plant grew in the nursery. Avoid planting trees and shrubs too deeply.
Dig the hole three times wider than the root ball. Plant the tree green side up in the hole and back fill with the original soil removed from the hole. The uppermost topsoil should be placed back into the bottom of the hole.
What to plant? Select the desired plant hardy in your area. Determine the plant zone where you live on-line. Plant zone information is listed on the plant tag. Never assume that the local garden center is selling only plants that are hardy in your region. This is not always the case. Know your heat zone rating, soil type and drainage. You also may need to irrigate certain times of the year.
With balled and burlapped (B&B) shrubs and trees, remove wire baskets and twine. Leave trunk wrap on if tree is planted in fall, and remove by summer of the following year. With container grown trees, untangle masses of roots before setting in the planting hole. Don’t buy tightly root bound container plants.
Bare-root trees should be planted in late winter to early spring before they begin to leaf out. Soak the container in water for 8-24 hours and spread out roots prior to planting. Remove circling roots that may girdle the tree many years from now.
Mulch newly planted trees – apply 3-4 inches of an organic mulch and keep it away from the trunk. Bark or wood chips and pine needles are good choices, and new sawdust or wood shavings are a huge mistake as these materials rob the soil of nitrogen.
Watering in your new tree is the last and most important step. A two inch caliper tree may require 5-7 gallons of water. If there is no rainfall after one week, repeat this step. You may need to water again over long dry spells lasting 10 days or more. Your tree(s) should be well established after one year.