If you’re hoping to add some new trees to your landscape, the perfect planting time is just around the corner.
The best times of year for planting young trees are in the dormant seasons, either just after leaves drop in the fall or just before trees start budding in spring. The cool weather conditions allow trees to develop strong roots before the warm spring and summer sun stimulate leaf and branch growth. For any type of tree, follow these basic planting steps:
- Dig a shallow, wide planting hole, as wide as three times the diameter of the root ball but only as deep as the root ball. A wide hole allows the roots to spread out without needing to push through tough, compacted soil.
- Identify the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the roots spread at the base of the tree, and this flare should be visible out of the hole. If not, the hole is too deep. The majority of the roots on the newly planted tree will develop in the top 12 inches of soil. If the tree is planted too deeply, new roots will have difficulty developing because of a lack of oxygen.
- Remove the container for container trees. Carefully cutting down the sides of the container may make this easier. Inspect the root ball for circling roots around the bottom and remove them.
- Straighten the tree before backfilling the hole. Look at the from several directions to confirm that it is straight. Once you begin filling the hole , it is difficult to reposition the tree.
- Fill the hole gently but firmly. Fill the hole about one-third full and firmly pack the soil around the base of the root ball. If the root ball is wrapped, cut and remove any fabric, plastic, string or wire from around the trunk and root ball to facilitate growth. Be careful not to damage the trunk or roots.
Planting trees can be a rewarding part of your fall gardening tasks. Once you get the hang of planting one, you may want to plant dozens. Always keep in mind the mature size of the tree, so you choose a location that gives it space to expand.