Trees are a great way to decorate the landscape around your home. By taking the time to properly plant the tree you can ensure that it will grow strong and healthy through its lifetime. Follow these steps to plant a tree.
- Plant during moderate weather. Your trees will need moderate sunshine and rainfall. Plan to plant during the most opportune time for your location. Most often spring and fall will be the best time but check the guidelines for the specific tree you've decided to plant.
- Dig the hole. There are many mistakes you can make when digging the hole that will cause problems with tree growth later. Keep in mind that your tree roots will need access to oxygen and water so you don't want to dig the hole too deep. Dig the hole so that it is three-quarters as deep as the height of the tree's root ball. Then dig the hole wider than the root ball by several inches on all sides. This wide, shallow hole allows the roots to spread out into the surrounding soil with access to air and water.
- Prepare the tree roots. Whether the tree was wrapped in burlap at the roots or is being transplanted from a container, you should loosen the soil that is packed around the roots before going further. Allow the roots to breathe and separate from the compacted wrapping.
- Place the tree into the hole. Set the tree loosely into the hole. Avoid compacting the roots or causing them damage.
- Cover the roots. Return the soil to the hole by placing the soil loosely. Do not compact or press down on the soil as this will suffocate the roots and limit their access to water and nutrients. Some of the roots, the top quarter should be above the surface of the hole. Then build up a mound above the roots to the base of the tree. Make sure the soil is loose.
- Fertilize the surrounding soil. Don't just fertilize directly at the root ball. Remember that tree roots will spread out and make a home in the surrounding soil so you want to fertilize the ground at least a few feet in circumference from the tree to make sure the entire root system has access to the nutrients from the fertilizer.
Once the tree is planted you should continue to monitor the weather including rainfall in the area to be sure that the tree is getting adequate water to the roots. As the harsher weather of summer or winter approach, you may have to water more often. By taking care when planting the tree you should be able to enjoy the majesty of the tree for years to come.