Anyone that heads out to a nursery to shop for a tree knows that these awkward, spindly bunch of branches has the potential to grow into something great. Adding a tree to your yard is a big commitment because the tree will serve to separate, bring together and stand in place for several years to come.
Tree planting is the first and most important step to adding a tree to your garden, so it is important that it is done right and that every home gardener know about the common mistakes to avoid.
We recently started adding trees to our community garden, including a Valencia orange and Anna apple, and after much research on the types of trees we were going to plant, the next step was planting the trees right!
Tree Planting Tips: Planning Your Garden
Plant In the Best Location
Setting your tree up in the best location is crucial, because once a tree begins establishing itself there is no turning back. Trees begin thinking about long term growth right from the start and send out their root systems to provide stability and nutrients to the tree.
The location is going to depend a lot on the type of tree you purchase, so read about its growing requirements beforehand, but ultimately you want to add a new tree to an area that is free of canopy cover for the best chance of survival.
Digging a Hole
Planting your tree in a hole is about as basic as you can get, but with trees it is important that the soil around the root ball is able to be penetrated by tree roots easily. Therefore, the way in which you dig and plant your tree is important. Mark the width of the hole so that it is twice as big as the potted tree around. Dig your tree hole to a depth that is the same as the root ball, you want the top of the soil to be flush with the ground.
Amend the Soil
Every new tree should be treated to plant providing nutrients when it is first planted. Add compost, pine bark or some other organic material that is good for the type of tree you are planting to the whole that you have made. Two to three inches in the bottom and up the lower side of the hole is best.
Prep And Plant
You do not just want to add your tree to the hole you have made the way it is, but need to prep the root ball by making cuts into the sides of the root ball with a shovel. This is known as scoring and encourages the smaller roots to split apart so that they will spread out and look for water once they are planted. Place root ball into the hole you have dug and fill the hole in with soil and additional organic material. Mound soil around the outermost edge of the hole to create a barrier, that can also serve to hold water that is added in order to prevent runoff.