Planting a tree sounds so simple: dig a hole, pop the tree in, and you’re done, right? To make sure your new tree grows healthy, planting it takes a little more care than that! When it’s time to put it in the ground, whether it’s a deciduous or coniferous tree, here’s how you can do it properly!
Pick The Right Spot
When planting your tree, you must select a spot that provides enough room for when it’s fully grown, as well as proper drainage and sunlight. Start by considering the size of the tree when it reaches maturity: how tall will it grow? How wide will the trunk and root system be? What shape will the canopy take? Does your property have enough space to ensure the safety of the tree and home once it’s fully grown?
Next, make sure there’s nothing in the ground before doing any digging. If possible, check with your local utility providers to ensure no buried cables or wires are where your new tree will go. Make sure not to plant tall-growing trees below utility lines.
Plant At The Right Time Of Year
When you plant the tree affects its growth. Plant deciduous trees during the spring after the frost has melted from the ground or fall between when the first leaves fall and the ground refreezes.
Coniferous trees should be planted in early spring until four weeks after deciduous trees have first opened their leaves, or in late summer to early fall, from the first week of August to October.
Dig The Right-Sized Hole
For the tree to take root, you must have a proper-sized hole. It should be two to three times wider than the container or root ball (the mass at the tree’s base). The hole should be as deep as the root ball is long so that, when you place it in the hole, the root collar (the point where the roots join the trunk) is at or slightly above the depth of the hole.
Always try and plant your tree as soon as you get it, but if planting immediately isn’t possible, keep your tree in a cool, shaded area. Water the plant as needed so that the roots and soil stay nice and moist.
Plant With Care
Once you have planted the tree so that the root ball’s top sits flush with the rim, fill the hole around the root ball with soil. Gently pack the soil down until the hole is two-thirds full; this removes any air pockets. Use the remaining dirt to make a ridge around the root ball to ensure water drains toward the roots. Be careful not to have any grass or sod; have some new soil handy just in case.
Once the hole is full, put down a layer of mulch in a ring extending three to six feet out from the trunk. The mulch will insulate the soil, retain moisture, and moderate temperature swings.
Once everything is in place, water the area thoroughly, as well as the day after planting. Water the tree every day for the first week, then twice a week for the next month. Make sure to soak the entire ball, so take your time with the hose.