How to Plant a Tree

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How to Plant a Tree

Tips for Planting Trees in Your Landscape

Trees provide structure and beauty to your garden. They improve the quality of the air by filtering dust and adding oxygen. Trees help you conserve water by holding moisture in the soil. Their shade insulates your garden, and they moderate wind, temperature and even humidity. They can provide the perfect backdrop for family photos, along with a great place to hang a tree swing. In general, trees make your garden more comfortable for everyone and everything–from squirrels and birds to you and your family. One tree can provide homes for hundreds of creatures, and if it is a fruit or nut tree, it can also provide food.

Best of all, trees also help your neighbors. Their large, permanent status in a yard means they can be enjoyed by your neighbors for all the same reasons you enjoy them. They will add shade and character to your whole neighborhood. Anyone who has ever driven down a suburban street lined with big old trees understands this—it just looks and feels better. This is especially true for trees that flower and send cascading petals through the breeze during springtime, or trees that change their colors in autumn and provide the perfect pile of leaves to play in.

If you have the space, planting a tree can be the perfect way to fill that area of your yard. But before you look at trees for sale, there’s a little bit of work you’ll need to do to ensure that your tree lives a long and healthy life.

Planting Your Tree

Although it seems like a massive endeavor, planting a tree is actually not hard. It just requires that you follow a few steps to do it right. Putting in the time and effort to do that will give your tree the best chance at growing large and filling up your yard. Here are just a few things to consider:

Decide Where Your Tree Should Live

First, choose a site in your yard. Learn about your tree's specific needs, and keep in mind the mature size of your tree, giving your tree plenty of room to grow. Think about possible future damage to property (yours and your neighbors'). If you have a fence, ensure you provide adequate space for your tree to go next to it. It might look silly to give it so much space now, but when that tree has reached maturity, you’ll be glad you don’t have a fence knocked down or a neighbor who now has to accept that it’s their tree, too!

Start Digging

Once you have selected your site, it’s time to dig. First off, use the right tools for the job. Picking the best shovel will make this project take a lot less time and effort on your part. Once you’ve got your tools, dig a hole three times as wide as the root ball. The roots need room and loose soil for expanding and establishing a firm base. Dig no deeper than the top of the root ball. Burying your tree too deep may inhibit growth because your roots still need ready access to water and oxygen. Note: Before you dig, be sure to call the National Dig Hotline (811). This will make sure there’s no chance of wires or anything else being under the surface.

Tend the Soil

Don’t just toss the soil you dug up back in the hole. Instead, amend it with an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer or compost. Your tree may be big, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need the same nutrients any other plants in your gardens require. If your soil has too much sand or clay, you may want to forgo putting the soil back into the hole and, instead, throw in some potting mix. When your roots are covered to the base of the stem, pack it down firmly and stake if necessary. Again, check to make sure that it’s not buried too deep or too high, which will both impact the root system negatively.

Water Your Tree

Give your newly planted tree a good drink of water—10-12 inches is recommended. This will not only give the roots a running start, but it will also ensure you don’t have any bubbles in your soil and that the root ball is snug in the soil. Repeat watering every 10-14 days until the tree is established. Once your tree is strong and self-sufficient, water as needed–more frequently during dry spells.

That’s it! You’re ready to add a beautiful tree to your yard or as a statement piece in your garden. Take your time and do it the right way, and you’ll ensure you have a tree to enjoy for possibly your entire life.