Planting a Tree the Right Way For the First Time

There are many steps to consider before planting a tree in your yard. First, be sure that the tree you choose is appropriate to your planting zone and is the correct size for the area you will be planting in. Many people choose a tree that’s too large for the space with the intention of controlling it with pruning, this just creates many headaches (for many years). Always be sure to check for power lines above and call for an underground locate before you buy.  

Homeowners will also want to consider the current sun situation you will be planting the tree in, also how much moisture it will realistically receive and what kind of soil you have. It’s a shame to plant an expensive sun-loving tree in the shade and vice versa.

Once you’re sure the site and the tree you’ve chosen are a match, dig the hole 2 to 3 times wider than the root ball or container that the tree comes in, but don’t dig it any deeper than the depth of the root ball/container. Once the hole is large enough, set the plant in the hole, making sure that once the hole is backfilled, the trunk flare will be visible. Do not bury it too deep.

At this point, you can remove any damaged roots if it was in a container, or if it was balled & burlapped, you can remove the twine and as much burlap as possible while still being gentle with the tree and its roots. If there is a wire basket, you can remove as much of that as is feasible.

Gently backfill the hole using the soil that was removed earlier, you may want to use water and a hose to help settle the soil. Top with a 4-inch layer of mulch, but make sure it’s at least one inch away from the trunk.

Water thoroughly, usually an inch a week during the summer during the tree’s first year and continue to monitor for the next few growing seasons.

Of course, many tree nurseries and landscapers will deliver and plant a tree for you for a fee, as well. For many, it’s money well spent and this service often carries a limited warranty for the tree.  

iScape It!: Of course, you can try any tree in your landscape, before you dig or buy, using iScape. Evergreens, large shade trees, flowering trees, and palm trees are all right there for you to plug in and see how it works in your own space. Just snap a photo of the area, or use the new, powerful Augmented Reality feature in iScape and see how it will look in your space. So simple, so easy...iScape it!