Before you select the tree you want to plant, consider the space you have in your garden and the time you have to care for it. Some trees take little care, but others require pruning, raking up fallen leaves or flowers. You need to be prepared to spend a little extra time to ensure your new tree is properly established with watering and fertilizers.
Choose the planting site –
You need to decide where the tree will be best planted. In selecting the best location, consider the size of the fully grown tree, how much sun it requires, how much shade it will cast and what it requires in the way of water and nutrients. Before you dig, check where underground utilities are placed to avoid cutting a line.
Know what the local regulations are, concerning the placement and size of trees. You don’t want to have to move the tree later on.
Planting guidelines –
Read the instructions on the plant label. Then –
—Dig a hole that is twice the width of the root ball or pot, and a little deeper. Loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole so that the new roots will be able to easily penetrate the soil.
—Fill the hole with water and allow it to completely drain away.
—Remove the tree from the container.
—Centre the tree in the hole and check that the top of the surrounding soil is level with the top of the soil around the tree. Make sure the tree is straight and the best side is facing out.
—Tease some of the fine roots out of the potting mixture. If it is bare-rooted, spread the roots out evenly.
—Backfill around the roots, making sure soil goes between the roots with a bare-rooted tree. Carefully jiggle the tree to settle the soil around the roots.
—Pat the soil flat to remove air pockets. Make sure the soil is at the same level on the trunk that it was in the container. Make a slight depression, the size of the hole, around the trunk to collect water and direct it to the roots while the tree becomes established.
—Water the tree directly at the root zone to help settle the soil and remove air pockets which will prevent the tree from thriving.
—Mulch – use wood chips, shredded bark and leaves, straw or dried grass clippings, and layer about 4 inches thick. Keep the mulch from touching the bark and spread to the edges of the widest branches. Mulch helps to prevent moisture loss, keeps weeds down and regulates the temperature of the soil.
—Lightly water again to moisten the mulch.
Ongoing care –
If the area is prone to strong winds, stake the tree for protection. Water the tree when the soil feels dry an inch from the top of the soil. Fertilize with appropriate fertilizer at the beginning of spring. Top up the mulch once or twice a year. Prune after flowering if appropriate or necessary.
With correct planting and care, your new tree will be a source of pleasure for years to come.