Planting a tree is an easy way to add beauty and value to your property. Planted correctly, a tree can thrive for decades.
Select a tree that is adapted to your region’s climate. Garden centers and county extension agents can offer advice on which trees grow best in your area.
Bare root trees should be planted during early spring, before they break dormancy. Potted and balled-and-burlap trees can be planted any time, as long as the ground can be worked. Conifers, however, do best when planted in the spring, says arborist Mike Maddox, horticultural educator at Rock County University of Wisconsin-Extension in Janesville, Wis. (pop. 59,498).
How to plant
- Dig a hole as deep as the tree’s root ball and three times its diameter.
- Remove containers, burlap and wire before centering the tree in the hole.
- Find the point where the roots spread at the tree base and position that point at ground level, with roots just under the soil surface.
- Loosen and spread circling roots. Backfill with soil dug from the hole, then pack the soil to eliminate air pockets.
- Water thoroughly.
- Mulch a 5- to 6-foot circle around the tree, covering ground with 2 to 4 inches of wood chips or bark.
- If the soil is deficient in nutrients, apply a slow-release fertilizer.
- Apply 1 inch of water weekly, if it doesn’t rain, until late fall. In warmer climates, water through the winter.