Not only do trees provide oxygen for us all, they also add beauty and shade, a home for wildlife, and they increase the value of your home. Proper care for newly-planted trees is crucial to their survival. In this blog, we’ll discuss the steps to planting a tree and maintaining it to keep it healthy and thriving.
New trees can be planted at any point in the season before the ground freezes, but the best time to plant is in the early spring or the fall, after the hottest days of summer have gone by. In the fall, there is less chance of a drought and the cooler temperatures help with new root growth. In early spring, you’re giving that new tree plenty of time to establish itself in its new home. Prior to planting, be sure you know where any underground utilities are, such as a septic tank.
When digging the hole, make sure it’s at least 2 to 3 times wider than the root ball. Dig the hole no deeper than the root ball. Being buried too deep is often the reason why trees and shrubs die, as it suffocates the roots. The trunk flare, where the trunk flares out to join the roots, should sit above the existing soil. Before filling in the hole, flood it with water to hydrate the roots.
Add the backfill soil to the hole and pack it firmly, watering in between. Don’t cover the trunk flare. Leave it exposed and make sure no soil covers it. You can mulch the new site about 2-3″ deep, to help conserve water and prevent weeds. Taper it towards the tree, but don’t let it touch the trunk.
Your new tree should be water thoroughly every other day for the first two weeks after planting. After those two weeks, a thorough moistening of the entire root zone once a week should be sufficient if there’s less than an inch of rain. During hot, windy weather, make sure your new tree is well-watered as the soil will dry out fast.