Now more than ever, businesses and everyday households alike are choosing to give a little back to the environment by planting a tree. Or for that matter, any number of trees. Along with the obvious environmental benefits, trees also have the ability to add both visual appeal and add value to almost any property or outdoor space. It may take many years or decade for the tree to reach its full potential, but sooner or later these are the kind of efforts that are rewarded in a big way.
As such, it’s a good idea to go about the planting process as mindfully and strategically as possible. This way, you’re unlikely to run into problems further down the line that could put the tree or its surroundings in jeopardy.
The single most important consideration will always be that of where the tree should be located. First and foremost, you need to think carefully about the size the tree will be when it reaches full maturity, in order to select a suitable space. Along with the tree itself, it’s crucial to be aware of how the roots of the tree will grow beneath the surface over time. Tree roots can be extensive, large and powerful enough to cripple the foundations of buildings, destroy walkways and wreak havoc with roads. As such, you’ll need to carry out sufficient research in order to determine how the trees of your choice may interfere with their surroundings over time. If unsure, speak to the professionals for further advice particularly when it comes to larger trees.
When to Plant
Contrary to popular belief, the winter months make the very best time of the year to plant trees. This is the time of year that trees tend to be dormant, which in turn means the lowest chance of causing serious damage during the planting process by way of transplant shock. It is best to plant bare-rooted trees before March, if possible. Of course, it is not impossible to plant trees at pretty much any time of year, but the risk of shock and ensuing health problems may be elevated.
The Planting Process
As for the planting process itself, the first step is unsurprisingly digging the required hole. Make sure that when you dig the hole, you dig it a decent amount wider and deeper than the base of the tree you’re planting. This is because while this space will once again be filled in when the tree is positioned in place, the soil will be much looser and thus make it easier for the roots to grow and develop. One key tip to bear in mind when planting always dig square holes, as opposed to round. The reason being that with round holes, trees are more prone to developing less healthy circular root systems, they cannot break through the surrounding soil.
When picking up your chosen tree from the nursery, you should be taking note of the exact depth to which the tree was buried in the soil. When you plant the tree yourself, you’re looking to ensure it is covered to exactly the same depth. If the tree is planted too shallow, the roots that emerge above the surface of the soil will die. If you plant it too deeply, the stem of the tree may become rotten and kill the tree.
When refilling the hole with the soil you removed, ensure you do so in a manner that is relatively firm as you go. It is, of course, important to ensure that the tree is positioned firmly, but you also need to make sure that the roots are immobilised beneath the surface. Do not simply put all the soil back in the hole and firm it all in one go. When the hole has been filled, use the heel of your boot to ensure it is reasonably compact, though not rock-solid. If you compact the soil too much, the roots will be unable to absorb the water and nutrients they need to grow and survive.
To finish things off, water the tree well and add an additional layer of mulch, in order to get things off to the best possible start.
As the roots may not currently be able to anchor the tree with sufficient stability, it’s advisable to use stakes for additional support. Be sure to take any possible windy conditions into account when choosing which side to position the stake on, in order to prevent the tree from rubbing on the stake as much as realistically possible.