Proper Tree Planting
March 19, 2016
One of the biggest problems I see in many gardens and landscapes is planting trees incorrectly. This can lead to a lot of difficulties down the line, so here are some tips to help you enjoy that tree for years to come. Early spring sees a great selection of container-grown trees in the garden center. This is a good time to plant a tree as there’s enough time for the tree roots to become acclimated before the hot and humid summer weather settles in. First off, be sure to dig the hole at least twice as wide as the container. While supporting the root ball, use your hand and rap on the sides of the container and remove the tree; Never grab the tree by the trunk and try to force the container off! Gently loosen any roots that may be matted. I believe this is better than using a knife to slice the roots around the edges. Then place the root ball in the hole. I like to plant trees with the top of the root abll a little higher than the surrounding soil, so don’t dig the hole too deep. Research has shown this helps with drainage and increases transplant survivability. Keeping the tree straight, back-fill the hole and tamp down to remove air pockets and don’t mound any soil up against the trunk. Add 2 inches of mulch around the area, making sure to pull any mulch back away from the trunk and don’t forget to thoroughly water the tree in, and water well on a weekly basis during the first year to help the tree get established. Planting shrubs instead of trees…. just follow the same tips. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.