We never get tired of remembering the many benefits of planting trees.
Trees improve our air quality and give off oxygen. They reduce the urban heat island effect, provide habitat and food for wildlife, and combat erosion and pollution in our waterways. They save us money by shading our homes. Trees reduce stress and have a calming effect on high-traffic streets. Children retain information better when they spend time around trees. Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their room offered a view of trees. Trees simply make life better.
These are just a few of the reasons we should all be motivated to plant more trees!
While we are your faithful local Louisville arborist, specializing in finding the absolute best nursery stock and planting to the highest standards, we also want to provide encouragement and support if you’d like to go to it on your own.
But please keep in mind the high importance of this first step. At Abundant Tree Care, we get called out to look at a lot of trees in stress, and many times the reason for this stress is because the tree was planted incorrectly.
Keeping that in mind, if you still want to take on the planting yourself, read on for a few tips according to the form in which you purchased your tree. Of course, before moving forward with anything you’ll need to…
Dig a Hole
Prepare your hole no deeper than the height of the roots and about two to three times as wide the diameter. This is very important as a hole too deep won’t allow the roots access to sufficient oxygen; Too narrow of a hole will keep roots from expanding sufficiently, which is required for the tree to anchor and receive nourishment. Once it’s in there, turn it so the best side of the tree is facing the direction you want.
Container trees can be stored briefly after purchase as long as it’s in a shady spot and the soil is kept moist. When you plant, remove the container carefully then pull apart, or “butterfly”, the roots. This is very important to ensure the roots expand beyond the dimensions of the container. Once the tree is seated, backfill the original soil into the hole. Compress gently with your hands.
Burlapped Root Balls
Though it’s best to plant these as soon as possible, they can also be stored for a brief time after purchase in a moist and shaded environment. Lift the tree by the ball, not the trunk. When ready to plant, cut the twine or string, and remove the burlap (or at least push it to the very bottom). Surround the ball with soil up to the ball height or slightly lower to allow for some settling. Do not compress the soil.
These trees must be planted ASAP as there is no soil surrounding the roots. When purchasing, inspect the roots to ensure they are moist and have numerous lengths of fine root hairs. Keep them as moist as possible until you are able to plant. Prune broken or damaged roots but take care to save the root structure the best you can. To plant, build a cone of earth in the centre of the hole. Place and splay the roots out over the cone. The “crown”, where the roots and top meet, should be about two inches above the soil level. This will allow for natural settling.
Two main problems that we come across time and time again with suffering trees: Either the tree was not planted at the correct depth (hole too deep or too shallow) or the roots were not pruned at the time of planting and girdling roots formed. Over time these roots can strangle a tree and cause decline or tree mortality.
Of course, we’d be happy to come out and take care of the planting for you. We are also available for any questions you might have about the process, what happens after it’s in the ground and how to ensure optimal growth. Contact your Louisville arborist, Abundant Tree Care, to Request a Quote or with any questions or comments.