Tree Tips: Proper Planting and Placing

Joel Hackett is a Certified Arborist Residing in the St Mary's Area. Spending most of the year running Joel's Tree Service, he also teaches Arboriculture during the winter at Lambton College. Joel Hackett does not assume any Liability for any information in this article.
Joel Hackett is a Certified Arborist Residing in the St Mary’s Area. Spending most of the year running Joel’s Tree Service, he also teaches Arboriculture during the winter at Lambton College. Joel Hackett does not assume any Liability for any information in this article.

Properly planting a tree takes time, effort, and planning. To preserve your investment, plan to plant your tree in the spring or fall; trees do best when planted in these seasons. Although planting in the summer is possible, the shock and heat often cause the tree considerable stress. This stress causes the tree to go into decline and eventually die.

Having determined when to plant the tree, it is equally important to select the best variety of tree to purchase. Each variety has advantages depending on what you, as the planter, need. Careful consideration of growth time, size, and longevity are essential. Remember that the tree will greatly increase in size, both in height and diameter. Placed in the wrong location, your tree can quickly become too large for the area. In time, this can become very expensive. Choose a tree that is right for the location and best suited to your purpose of planting.

The first step in planting the tree is to prepare the hole. The hole should be made slightly larger than the root ball. When placing the root ball in the hole, it is critical to take the burlap, metal cage, and string off. If the material is left on the root ball, it will cause a number of problems, including girdling roots. Roots should be spread out, so that the chance of girdling roots is lessened.

After the tree is placed in the ground, it is essential to set the depth. The tree should neither be placed too high nor too low for a number of reasons. If the tree is planted too deep, it will cause rot around the trunk. A tree should be placed so that the dirt is level with the root flare. If the tree is placed too high, the roots will grow out along the top of the ground causing exposed roots and an unkempt lawn appearance.

Once the tree is placed and the dirt is filled in, the young tree should be staked. Stakes should be placed in such a way as to support against the wind. Stakes should be left in the ground no longer then a year. After properly planting and staking, it is beneficial to place manure and mulch around the tree leaving an air gap between the material and the trunk. Finally, it is wise to water the tree at least once or twice a week, deep infrequent watering is best for trees. A tree that is watered too often will lose oxygen to the roots, literally causing the tree to drown.

Properly planting a tree is beneficial to all. Healthy trees are very useful and practical, providing oxygen, privacy, noise reduction, and many other benefits. Properly placed trees have even been known to cut energy costs of home cooling and heating by 20 percent.

If you have a question, you can email me at jtsquote@gmail.com, and I will respond either by email or in a future article. If you would like me to come and assess one of your trees, you can call me at 519-272-5742.

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