Planting Trees- General Guidelines
May 23, 2005
When to Plant Trees
Climate plays a deciding role when determining the appropriate planting time. Newly planted trees do best when exposed to moderate temperature and rainfall and they need time to root and acclimatize before the onset of intense heat and dryness of summer or the freezing temperatures of winter. Spring and fall, therefore, are generally the best planting seasons. In the southern United States, however, which do not experience an intense winter, planting can take place during the winter months. Palm trees are an exception: they are best planted in the warmer, summer months.
How To Plant Trees
While planting different types of trees differs in the details, all trees eventually end up in a hole. But not any old hole will do.
The most common mistake when planting a tree is a digging hole, which is both too deep and too narrow. Too deep and the roots don?t have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth. Too narrow and the root structure can?t expand sufficiently to nourish and properly anchor the tree.
As a general rule, trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown. The width of the hole should be at least 3 times the diameter of the root ball or container or the spread of the roots in the case of bare root trees. This will provide the tree with enough worked earth for its root structure to establish itself.
When digging in poorly drained clay soil, it is important to avoid ?glazing?. Glazing occurs when the sides and bottom of a hole become smoothed forming a barrier, through which water has difficulty passing. To break up the glaze, use a fork to work the bottom and drag the points along the sides of the completed hole. Also, raising the bottom of the hole slightly higher than the surrounding area. This allows water to disperse, reducing the possibility of water pooling in the planting zone.
After you plant your tree, there are certain products that can be added to the soil to help the roots establish themselves. A root-promoting fertilizer can help, but ensure that the fertilizer is not simply placed in the planting hole. Fertilize the soil around the planting hole as well to promote root expansion.
Mycorrhizal Fungi is an extremely beneficial additive for newly planted trees. By adding this all-natural, symbiotic fungus to the soil, you can both promote the growth of the root system, and discourage the establishment of damaging fungi that could hinder the tree’s development.