Tree Planting

One of the most wonderful things about planting a tree is being able to watch it grow.  Choosing the right tree for the right area of your property is extremely important.  You have to decide which tree grows best in your climate.   You will also have to decide where to plant the tree so it will not interfere with your utility lines in the future.   Hiring an ISA certified arborist is not necessary at this time.  However, you may consult a local tree nursery or a landscape architect to help you decide which variety of tree will do best at your home or office.

When is the best time to plant a tree?

The best time of the year to plant a tree in dryer or cooler regions of the United States is during the dormant or dry season in.  In the southern states like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, where the climate is mild, you can plant trees year-round.  It also depends on the type of tree you are planting.  Most of the time, that is during the Fall, after all of the leaves have dropped or before they bud or flower in the Spring.  Southern Pine trees are planted during the winter-time in the south and do quite well.  The only drawback is if they are seedlings or short trees, you need to make sure you keep the undergrowth down during the spring so they can get a head start.  Some companies offer early herbatious work on large tracts of trees.  Most trees that are purchased from commercial nurseries are large anyway and will not require much undergrowth maintenance.  Planning your tree planting will ensure that you do not end up with damaged trees shortly after planting.

One of the concerns landowners have of planting trees, is understanding that some of the trees you planted, may go into a shock process caused by the digging and disrupting the root system.  Shock will make the tree go into a dormant stage and may appear to be dead or lose its leaves for a period of time.

How to plant a tree properly

After you have decided on the species of tree you want to plant, you will need to know how to plant it.   The first step in planting any tree with a big root ball or one that is in a plastic bucket, is to make the hole wide enough to help establish quick growth.   Most trees root system grows just under the surface of the topsoil and to help them get started, the soil needs to be loose and breathable.   Some tree roots are deeper than others, but most of the hardwoods and decorative trees root systems grow within the top 12 to 16 inches of earth.   For that reason, you need to dig the hole four to five times larger than the tree root ball.   Your tree is most likely going to be in shock immediately after planting and may not grow for some period.   Digging the hole four to five times larger than the root ball allows the trees root system to grow in soil that is not packed an is easier on the tree to get started.  You will also need to make sure you have a firm base to sit the root ball and tree on top of in the hole so it will not sink.  Some people place gravel underneath the root ball to help absorb the weight of the tree that is being planted.

The second thing is do not burry the root ball deeper than the trunk base. You may be tempted to lift the tree by the trunk because it is logical and it allows you to hold it better.  This can cause the tree to become damaged.  However, you need to lift the tree by the root ball.  You need to remove any plastic containers, burlap or plastic bags that hold the root ball in place.  Gently set the newly planted tree in the hole and get it vertical.  You need to be careful not to have your tree leaning after planting.   If you burry the root ball deep, top soil will smother, the tree and it will die, causing you to remove the tree.   The base of the trunk should be even with the top of the soil in order to give the freshly planted tree a chance to survive.

Backfilling soil around your newly planted tree

Backfilling with the soild or dirt around the base of the tree should be done gently and evenly.  Make sure you are not packing the dirt.  You may step on it with your foot and tamp it into place with a rake or a tamping tool that has a flat face attached to a handle.  Place thin layers of dirt and pack gently until the root ball is covered.  You may also use a stake and rope system hold the tree in place until the soil packs.  Proper placement of the stakes is crucial.  They need to be placed far enough away from the root ball where they will not stick through it.  Staking properly will keep you from having to save your trees later.  You do not need to rigidly tie her down.  You just want to support it.  Depending on the size of the tree you are planting is, cable, wire, rope, hay bailing twine or panty hose may work just fine.

Water your newly planted tree to keep it moist

You do not want to drown your newly planted tree.   Weekly watering is fine unless it is the heat of the summer.  The key is not overwatering your tree.  You may also place mulch around the base of the tree to help hold moisture.


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