Preparing for, and Caring for Newly Planted Trees

Before you plant, know your Zone number
No plant or tree will live very long unless you prepare in advance. Each zone has a number, you should find out what your number is. Check on the internet, with garden books, and your local nursery,who sell shrubs and trees, to find the zone and trees that will live comfortably in your area. If the soil in your yard is not suitable, get amended it by purchasing soil suited for the tree. Many of you larger home and garden centers carry a wide variety of soils including soil for trees.

Fertilizing and Size of hole
Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor of This Old Housemixes “superphosphate and 3-4-3 fertilizer in the soil pile” that he has off to one side. Read the instructions on the bag so it is correct for the size of tree being planted. “Measure the height of the root ball and subtract 2 inches. For example, if the root ball is 3 feet high (36 inches) then dig the hole only 34 inches down. Make sure you put the hole depth and width on paper. “Measure the diameter of the root ball and dig the hole 2 to 3 times the size of the root ball.”Cook talks about the root flare. “Carefully remove the soil from the top of the root ball. The flare is where the trunk spreads out into the individual roots.” Now you can start digging.

“The most common mistake when planting a tree is a digging hole, which is both too deep and too narrow.” Says Paul Arsenault from office furniture experts, CDI Spaces.

Don’t overlook releasing the roots. With flowers you can use your fingers to break up the root and help it not to be root-bound or ‘pot-bound’ as my mother would call it. With a tree roots it takes more effort and time. By using a hand held cultivator, also known as a garden cultivator, it might do the trick. This tool has three curved prongs on it. Gently pull away some of the soil and release some of the roots on all sides. You are trying to release them a little so they can grow away from the root ball.

Mulching, Watering, and Pruning
Mulch helps to keep the moisture in but too much can be harmful.Cook says to “spread 3 inches of bark mulch over the exposed dirt around the tree,” and he warns “to keep it way from the tree trunk. Know your area. Is it prone to drought? Then give your tree more water. Is it a high moisture area? Then give it less.” Cook says to water you’re newly planted tree for two years. The Abor Day foundation mentions watering “for 30 seconds with a steady stream of water from a garden hose that has a diffuser nozzle. Move the trowel back and forth to create a small narrow trench. Then use your finger to touch the soil. If it is moist to the touch then they do not need water.” Water it for the first 3 years. When it comes to pruning, thee general rule of thumb is to prune in the winter.If you have dead branches you can prune anytime. If your uncertain about pruning, then check the internet, gardening books, and/or your local nursery to be sure.