If your landscape is looking a bit plain and mundane, you may be considering planting some new trees. Tree planting is not overly difficult and is a task that most homeowners can handle on their own. However, there are a few guidelines and tips you'll need to follow to make sure your tree gets off to the right start, growing up sturdy and strong.
1. Choose Your Location Before Choosing a Tree
Rather than picking a variety of tree you want and then trying to find a suitable location for it, take the opposite approach. Decide where on your land you would like a tree or trees, and then pick a variety of tree that is suited for that spot. Different tree varieties have vastly different needs. A tree that requires full sunlight, for example, won't grow well against your house because this spot will be too shady.
As you look for a tree suited for your chosen planting spot, consider these factors:
- How many hours of sunlight does the spot get each day?
- Is the soil moist or dry? Sandy or clay-based?
- Is the area hard to clean? (If so, you may want to avoid fruit trees and those that drop large seeds.)
If you describe your planting spot to a local nursery, they should be able to recommend trees that are well-suited to its characteristics.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Wait
Spring seems like a great time for planting, and in fact, many trees do thrive when planted in the spring. However, there are some types of trees - particularly maples - that do better when planted in the fall. You can plant evergreen trees in the spring or fall with similar results. If you run out of time this spring, do not plant trees in the heat of summer; it will be too hard on them. Wait until fall instead.
3. Test the Soil
Many homeowners plant a tree and then immediately apply fertilizer in an effort to boost its growth. But applying fertilizer without first testing the soil is a bit like taking a shot in the dark. Without testing the soil, you have no way to know which nutrients the soil needs, so you risk over-applying certain nutrients and doing more harm than good.
Arrange to have a tree care company test your soil either just before or just after you plant the tree. Then, apply fertilizer according to the results of the test. Never use a fertilizer that contains an herbicide and is designed for use on lawns, as herbicides can be harmful to young trees.
4. Give the Roots Some Space
After you plant your tree, its roots will need to grow and extend in order to reach the water and nutrients needed for ongoing growth. Enable your tree's root growth by digging a wide hole when you plant the tree. The hole should be at least twice as wide as the tree's root ball - three times as wide is even better. Pack the soil loosely around the tree to make it easier for the roots to push through.
5. Water Carefully
Newly planted trees need to be watered far more often than older trees since their root systems are not yet established. However, it is possible to over-water the new tree and drown its roots.
Immediately after planting, water the tree in and apply a 4-inch layer of mulch to help keep moisture in the soil. In the months that follow, check the soil daily, and water the tree whenever the soil becomes too dry to remain in a clump as you squeeze it. Usually, you'll end up watering about once a week.
With the tips above, you should be able to plant a new tree in your yard successfully. If you are in need of any assistance or guidance, contact Joe Webster Tree Care, Inc. We offer tree care services, including tree planting, in the Huntsville area.