Pro-Tip ☞ Plan with the end in mind. Envision the future size and shape of your tree to determine how it will fit your landscape! You would be surprised how many people regret not having done this.
Expect larger tree varieties, such as oaks, to develop large, spreading root systems. This can be troublesome for foundations, so be sure these types of trees have plenty of space to expand away from sidewalks, driveways, and your house! Large trees should be planted 15 to 20 feet away from your home. Another consideration, trees with weaker tolerance to strong winds, such as the Bradford pear tree, need plenty of room for roots to establish.
Tree’s root systems can tamper with gas, water, and utility lines as well as certain zones! To steer clear of future challenges, contact your zoning department to discover if there are any restrictions on tree varieties or planting locations for your area.
Another factor to keep in mind: consider how large your tree will grow and place it far enough away from property lines.
How to Plant
Spring and fall are generally the best time to plant a tree to avoid the harsh weather of summer and winter.
We have all heard the phrase about putting a round peg into a square hole. When it comes to planting trees and shrubs, that is exactly what you want to do! A square hole gives many enhancements to a plant’s development such as faster and stronger growth, a larger and healthier root system, and a higher survival rate.
When planting your sapling, begin by digging a hole that doesn’t exceed the soil depth that the tree was grown in. The width of this hole should minimally be triple the size of the root ball, which is the mass of roots at the base of your tree. For shrubs, create a hole 2 to 5 times the width of the root ball, and a depth that will not exceed the top roots, or root flare. You’ll want the root flare to be exposed after planting. Creating enough width is important; trees and shrubs planted with ample amounts of worked soil will develop a healthy root system!
Break up the soil along the hole’s walls using a pronged tool or fork. Water will find it difficult to pass through the hole perimeters if the walls of the hole are smoothed out; this is called glazing.
A problem that must be avoided is water pooling within the planting zone. To avoid this, build up the earth at the bottom center of the hole where your sapling will be placed. Be sure that this built-up earth is compacted and undisturbed, so your plant doesn’t sink!
After digging your hole correctly, place your tree or shrub within and backfill the remaining spaces of the hole with the native soil you previously dug out. You don’t want to compact the soil you place back in, just lightly pat it into place.
After your tree or shrub is planted, you’ll want to practice good watering habits so your plant establishes and remains healthy! For both shrubs and trees, water deeply and slowly. These plants will require watering directly to the root ball as they grow. Evaluate your soil drainage so that you know the right amount of water to give your tree or shrub! Over and under watering can lead to further problems.
Using mulch around your trees and shrubs will help retain moisture so that there is no competition for water!