How To Plant A Tree


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How To Plant A Tree

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How To Plant A Tree

  1. 1. How to Plant a Tree Planting a tree isn't as simple as just digging a hole and throwing the tree in it. If you want the tree you're planting to survive and thrive, here's what to do.
  2. 2. Hole, including "pedestal", soil, and root ball. Stake as shown, if necessary.
  3. 3. Steps • Select the right time of year for planting the tree. Do not plant in late spring or summer because the heat will stress the plant and may cause it to die. The best time to plant a tree is fall (autumn) or early spring. • Check to see if there are any local requirements concerning digging deep holes if you need to dig near telephone and other cables (for example, in urban areas). • Choose a suitable tree for the region, climate, and space. • Research local cultivars of species native to your area. If you will plant a non-native species, consider carefully why. • Look at the characteristics of the various species you are considering, including how quickly and how large they grow, how much cleanup they require, and their tolerance to diseases, drought, and insects. • Understand the growth habits of the tree you will plant, and the shape that your tree will have when it is mature. • Select a healthy tree. If there are leaves on it, look at the condition of the leaves, but remember that the best time to plant many deciduous trees is when they are dormant.
  4. 4. Place the tree, in its pot, where you think it should go. Then step back and take a good look.
  5. 5. Steps Decide where you want the tree. Remember that trees will grow large, so in addition to arranging it according to how you want the area to look, think ahead: • What will the tree shade, and what it might touch or cover when it is fully grown? • Will it be too close to any sidewalks, houses, or power lines? • Does your planting location tend to flood or puddle heavily when it is wet? Choose a site with good drainage. Planting holes can form natural ponds in non-percolating conditions, and many trees will drown if their roots are completely submerged.
  6. 6. Dig a large hole.
  7. 7. Steps Prepare the hole. Take a suitable shovel and dig a hole. The size of the hole depends on the plant. Try to dig it a little larger so that your plant will fit easily. Dig a hole 2-3 times the width of the root ball, not just enough so it will fit. This lets the roots ease in more easily and begin to grow outwards into the soil. It also allows you to cut off the root basket if there is one. See next item on creating a pedestal in the center of the hole. Water the base of the hole and let the water seep through into the surrounding soil.
  8. 8. Removing the burlap.
  9. 9. Steps • Try to dig the hole with a small "pedestal" of dirt in the center of the hole where the tree will rest. The hole should be a little deeper around the edges but there should be a pedestal of dirt in the center where the root ball sits. This pedestal prevents the root ball from sitting continuously in water. Any excess water will naturally flow to the deeper areas of the hole around the edges where the roots can drink from if needed. Having a pedestal in the center of the hole is very important since one of the major reasons why trees die is "drowning", meaning the tree is getting too much water and the root ball is sitting in a pool of water. The point where the tree comes out of the ground should be slightly higher than the ground around it. Slightly higher means 1/4 to 1/2 inch. This prevents water from collecting next to the base of the trunk which causes the tree to rot. Score the sides of the hole if the soil around where you are planting the tree is heavy in clay or very compacted. Use the side or point of your shovel to make grooves. This will help the tree's roots to penetrate a little better.
  10. 10. Under the burlap.
  11. 11. Steps • Prepare the tree for planting. The process is slightly different for a small tree and a large tree: If it is a small tree, then you can turn it upside down gently to get it out of the pot. You could also cut some plastic containers to remove them. • If the tree is larger and has a net or a hessian or rope bag, you might need to use large scissors or a sharp knife to cut through the packaging. Avoid handling the tree with the burlap off. Put it in the hole, then cut, if possible, or cut it and unwrap right next to the hole and lower it in as gently as you can. • Don't leave a tree's roots out of its container or burlap for too long. Especially in sun and wind, it could dry out and damage the roots.
  12. 12. Place the tree into the hole so that the crown will be level with the soil.
  13. 13. Steps Place the tree into the hole gently. Be sure the hole isn't too deep or too shallow. The ground level of the plant in the pot should match up with the ground level after you fill the hole in. Do not bury over the crown (where the stem changes to root) or leave any roots exposed. You can place the handle of your shovel flat across the hole from one side to the other to measure whether the crown is level with the surrounding soil before filling in the hole.
  14. 14. Compost or manure will help.
  15. 15. Steps • Add fertilizer only after the hole is dug. All plants need fertilizer to thrive, but too much and you will burn the leaves or kill the plant. Follow the package directions. A good choice is slow release fertilizer, available from garden stores. • Over-fertilizing can result in growth that is too fast. This growth might not be very strong or well-formed. More is not better. Use some compost or composted manure if needed. If the soil that you currently have is not rich, has clay- like qualities or if it has the consistency of dust or sand, the addition of manure or compost will give the tree a great start in life. Backfill three quarters of the hole with existing dirt, one quarter with compost or composted manure.
  16. 16. Apply mulch.
  17. 17. Steps • Composted organic matter also includes lots of nutrients for your tree. You may be able to do without a commercial fertilizer. • Give fruit and nut trees extra attention. Adding manure or compost is essential if you are planting a fruit or nut tree. Backfill two thirds of the hole with existing dirt and one third with compost or composted manure for each fruit or nut tree. • Water the newly planted tree. Allow settling, backfill the remaining soil, and water again. This will eliminate air pockets. Water one gallon (3.7 liters) for every six inches (15 cm) of tree height.
  18. 18. Steps Mulch, mulch, mulch! Cover the planting hole with 1-3 inches (2.5 cm - 7.6 cm) of shredded hardwood or leaf mulch. Do not put mulch against the trunk or it will rot. Don't over-mulch the tree, either. A few inches are enough to keep water in and most weeds out. Mulch a circle out to the drip line, about the same width as the tree's leaves. • A visible patch of mulch also helps remind people not to step or mow or run a string trimmer too close to the tree. • Water it again. After the planting is finished come back in about an hour and water one more time.
  19. 19. Steps • Stake the tree if necessary, for about the first year. Make sure that whatever stakes you use are tied loosely to the trunk and do not dig into the bark or tighten around the tree. Remove the stakes once the roots have a chance to become established, after about the first year. Staking protects the tree against blowing over in the wind, and it can also help to remind people moving around the tree not to run into it. • Keep watering your tree for the first few years as it gets established. Depending on the climate and your area, it will need weekly watering until the roots are established. To form deep roots, water deeply. A long, slow trickle of water will water more deeply than a quick sprinkling. Remember, deep roots help your tree to be resist droughts and winds. Let the ground dry out, at least somewhat, between watering. • Enjoy the tree as it grows over the years with you and your family. Appreciate its shade and beauty and thank yourself for adding another tree to the world.