Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring and fall are great times of year to plant trees and other landscape plants. Before digging in take time to select the right tree for the right location to ensure your planting is a success.

10 steps for planting a tree:

1. Transportation: Carefully transport your tree from the nursery by covering the canopy to avoid windburn. Do not bounce or drop the root ball to avoid damaging fragile roots. Keep the root ball moist if you’re not planting immediately.

2. Dig In: Dig your hole twice as wide as the root ball and just slightly shallower than the height of the root ball. Scuff and roughen the sides of the planting hole. Compact the bottom of the hole so the tree won’t settle lower.

3. Remove the container: Remove the plastic container from the tree before placing it in the hole, separate and loosen circling and dense roots. For balled and burlapped trees cut and remove the top of the burlap and twine away from the trunk.

4. Planting height: Find the trunk or root flare where the roots meet the trunk, generally where the trunk becomes wider before going into the soil. You may need to scrape the soil back to find the root flare if it buried inside the root ball. Set the height of the tree to be approximately ½” to 1.0” above the surrounding grade. If you must add soil to the planting hole be sure to compact it before installing the tree.

5. “Face” the tree: Orient the preferred side of the tree to a prominent viewpoint – such as a patio or window of the house. When moving the tree lift from the container or root ball and not from the trunk or branches.

6. Plumb the tree: Once the tree is in the hole ensure that it is standing upright. Adjust the root ball until the tree is plumb and then pack soil under and around the root ball to secure it.

7. Improve the soil: Improve the native clay soil in our area with soil amendments like compost or SweetPeet. Mix one part amendment to three parts native soil.

8. Backfill: Pack in the soil as you backfill around the tree by compressing the soil every few shovels of soil to remove air pockets which will help to stabilize the plant.

9. Water: Water only after back filling is completed and the soil is compacted. Create a berm around the base of the tree larger than the root ball so water is concentrated around the tree and does not run off. Water more heavily with the first watering. Then continue monitoring the tree for water, adding generally 1 gallon of water per caliper inch plus one gallon. A 2.0” tree will need three gallons of water one or two times per week depending on the season and soil conditions.

10. Mulch: Cover the planting area with 1.5” to 2.0” of bark mulch, but keep it away from the trunk of the tree. Mulch moderates the soil temperature, helps to maintain moisture, reduces weed growth and prevents a hard crust from occurring on the soil which prevents water from getting into the soil.

Before you plant a tree know where your utilities are located. Call Ohio Utility Protection Service (OUPS) at 8-1-1 or (800) 362-2764 at least 48 hours before digging to have utility lines marked.

Visit http://www.lawnlad.com/ , http://www.treesaregood.com/ or http://www.arborday.org/ for more information.

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