How to Plant a Tree Properly?

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The unpredictable changing of weather and climatic patterns have added further stress to trees and plants. The period of heat in between prolonged bouts of poor precipitation and cold spells has made it difficult for the trees to make a sustainable adaptation. While some tree species have adjusted to the changing ecosystem just fine, others are still struggling to adapt. So, the least we could do to avoid such unnecessary stress on trees is to plant the correct tree species that suits your area along with the weather conditions you may experience.

Planting a Tree

Plant Trees in 8 Easy Steps

Often simply planting a tree in the ground and moving away may be enough for it to live only with a bit of fortune and perfect timing. Yet learning how and when to plant a tree properly will surely ensure good results. Becoming a green thumb is not an overnight thing, but it does take a lot of trial and error. It has been known that trees are the lungs of the earth for a good reason. This is because they help in absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.  Trees add a structure and aesthetic to your house which will increase its value. For this, you need to learn how to plant the trees. Here are eight easy steps that you need to know while planting a tree.

1. Choose the Right Tree

Always choose a tree that can grow vertically or horizontally depending on the room that you can provide to it. With this, you can ensure that canopy and roots can get ample space to grow.

2. Dig the Hole

Dig a square hole on the ground which is not too deep and narrow. It should be of the size of the root ball. This will help in the penetration of the root properly into the surrounding soil.

3. Check the Water Drainage Property of Soil

Next, you can fill this hole with water and check its drainage. If the water does not get drained in 24 hours then start looking for a new site.

choosing soil

4. Prune the Decayed Parts

Cut the diseased and old branches that are growing around the main stem as any unhealthy canopy will delay the growth. It is always advised that you choose the tree which is healthy and perfect for planting.

5. Set the Tree

Now plant the tree in the hole which you have dug but do not sow it too deeply. Never hold the tree by its trunk, rather pick it up from the root ball. If there are any foreign materials on the root ball, then make sure that you remove it before planting. This is because the foreign materials will prevent the seepage of water into the roots.

6. Fill the Hole with Soil

Gently now fill the hole with the same soil which you had removed while digging it. Put the soil back and cover its roots. Also, ensure that the soil lying around the plant is firm enough to hold it during any climatic change.

7. Water the Tree

It has been said that a new tree needs only six to seven gallons of water for each diameter of the trunk. But make sure that you do not overwater the tree or else sometimes it can get rotten.

Watering the Plant

8. No to Fertilizers

If you are planning to add some fertilizers then it is better to avoid it, as the nitrogen in them can burn the tender roots of the tree.

There are a lot of things that can help the tree grow such as mulching, weeding, or adding a tree guard to it. Follow these eight steps and you will surely succeed in growing a green and healthy tree.

Factors to Consider While Planting a Tree

1. Temperature

Varying temperature ranges limit and, or influence the geographical diversity of varied species of plants and trees. The arrival of sudden low temperatures can freeze and kill the living cells in trees which can’t withstand colder climates. The same reaction can take place in certain plant species that are accustomed to extreme temperatures and drought conditions. So, the temperature is the foremost factor to consider while selecting a species to plant in your desired zone, like- in your garden or balcony, etc. Note that changes in elevation and temperature exposure (slope direction) with respect to the planting zone can also put an effect.

2. Moisture

Every plant species has a specific moisture and dryness tolerance level which contributes to plant growth. So, you must pay heed to choose a proper planting site; whether it’s a flood area, is a parched zone, or is consistently exposed to the loo (dry and dusty wind). Watering, the dried-out site, can rejuvenate the area. However, while doing irrigation, you must have knowledge about the optimal moisture carrying capacity of the soil type for your plant species. For example, you can frequently water light, sandy soils, however, watering so often is way too much.

3. Light

Shade tolerance is the basic term for foresters to determine the rate of light exposure required by any plant species for proper growth. Do not run the mistake of planting your tree in a place where it doesn’t meet the plant’s light requirements.

4. Pests

Every locality deals with its own issues in controlling their vegetation from particular insects or diseases they carry. So, the perfect way to avoid the carriers is to eliminate host species of these pests by using eco-friendly insecticides. Or, sometimes it is best to purchase such plant species that are immune to pest attacks and diseases.

remove pests

5. Soil

Soil is another crucial factor that is often overlooked while choosing a tree for planting. Soil structure, its depth, and pH range, added to its water retention level, can contribute to the failure or success after planting a tree. For instance, if a plant species suits light, sandy soil, then planting it in clay or rocky-type soil won’t work out. Plus, every tree species is related to a certain tolerance range of alkalinity and acidity, just like the shade tolerance. So, make sure that these requirements match the soil type where you decided to plant your tree. Soil balance is often disrupted in urban areas. So, the trees, which may otherwise grow well, struggle due to damaged soil structure. Soil compaction caused by the constant moving of pedestrian and heavy vehicles also limits the tree’s growth potential.

6. Air Pollution

Unfortunately, with the advent of newer technologies and the opening of heavy industries, the ability of plant species to endure increasing air pollution is decreasing gradually. Chemicals carried in the air depend on the localities. In areas near chemical factories, the accumulative effects of air pollution have already started showing up. The smarter move is to consult a local professional and ensure if your residential area or town is severely affected by air pollution. If so, then which plant species in your area are severely affected. Similarly, street de-icing or salt spraying from the ocean could arise a local issue, where some species may be more sensitive to these courses of action.  To avoid this setback, ask a  nursery professional, an arborist, AgriLife Extension agent, or an urban forester about which trees must be avoided from these actions.

Additional Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance of trees is important to ensure their long-term health and protection in their dedicated landscapes. The urban environment is the origin of stress, imbalance, and disturbance in the tree’s natural growth; caused by asphalt reflecting much heat to salt-spray in the winter season. Trees, while in the natural environment, don’t undergo stress. However, trees in man-made surroundings must be taken care of, else it may lead to their reduced growth or even untimely death.  There are a number of things we can follow to help the urban vegetation grow better, long live and stay productive.

1. Mulching

Mulching is the single most advantageous activity you may follow for better care of your trees.

Mulching is the process of utilizing material in the soil of an area where your planted tree is growing. Varying materials can be accordingly applied to get the desired outcome.

Mulching a Tree

In natural settings, trees foliage and drop the branches surrounding the trunk. The soil then re-absorbs nutrients by the action of soil microbes, or other organisms, that decompose the fallen leaves and branches turning them into the soil.

2. Tree Pit Gardening

When you plant a new tree in front of a residential or business zone, then a planting space of around 30 square feet comes within the tree pit. Perennials, bulbs, and annuals are a perfect contrast of additions to a tree pit, as long as you are concerned about your tree’s health.

3. Watering

While planting a new tree, it loses much of the root system during the process, leaving the tree vulnerable to die from excess heat or drought during the initial seasons of the year.  So, it’s important to regularly water the trees when they are still young until they get adapted to their landscape. Once they are established, the trees will start growing newer roots to get further into the soil searching for access to water. So, during this period it is best to let the roots spread into the surrounding soil, and avoid supplemental irrigation. However, sometimes the established trees can go through prolonged heat and drought, so water your trees accordingly.

Watering a Tree

Bottomline

In short, it is significant to understand the effect of various environmental factors on tree growth prior to selecting a tree for planting. Temperature, soil, moisture, pest, shade tolerance, and air pollution must be given prime importance to contribute to your planting success.

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