Congratulations on making the decision to plant a tree on your property! You have made a choice to do something that will be very rewarding for you and your family for years to come. Trees bring countless benefits to those that leave near them, including shade, clean air, and an attractive home for birds and other wildlife. Some of them also bloom with stunning displays of flowers or bear delicious fruit that you and your loved ones can enjoy. Few things in life are more spectacular than trees!
Having chosen to plant a tree on your property, however, is only the beginning. You now have to figure out how to go about finding the right tree and making sure it survives and thrives in the conditions that your property provides. If you live in the Portland, OR area, then conditions can tend to be a bit challenging. Once you’ve decided on exactly what kind of tree is best, you’ll have to think about how to plant it. Recently, container-grown trees have become popular, but B&B (or ball and burlap) trees – also known as field grown trees – are still consistently popular as well. This article will give you a few tips for planting B&B trees in a way that they can experience optimal growth and health.
Before you do anything else, you need to decide where exactly you’re going to plant your tree. If you have a location you like, you should try to learn as much as you can about it. Get a soil pH kit and test the acidity of your soil. Acidity affects what types of trees can grow where. You should also take note of the amount of light that reaches your chosen area. Some trees thrive with lots of shade; others need a good deal of sunlight to grow optimally. Check what type of soil you have, as well. Certain trees need more sandy soil; others need clay. You will need to know everything you can about where you are growing your tree to ensure that it does its best in that location.
When you dig a hole to plant your tree it should be no deeper than the distance from the trunk flare to the bottom of the root ball. Placing a tree too deep in the ground and covering up part of it can cause very serious problems for the tree in the future. Similarly, if the roots of the tree don’t have enough soil coverage, the tree may not do well either. Take care to measure the depth of the planting hole to make sure it is a healthy depth. You should also take care to make sure the width of the planting hole is a healthy one. It should be about three times the width of the root ball to allow plenty of room for the soil to be packed around the tree.
Placing the tree into the planting hole requires quite a bit of care as well. First, you’ll need to set it into the hole you’ve dug carefully and make sure you’ve allowed the trunk flare about an inch or two of space. Only then should you remove the burlap and rope around the roots of your tree.
Inside of the burlap, there is a wire basket that you should remove about 8 inches of with bolt cutters. Don’t try to take the wire basket off completely as this can severely damage the roots of the tree. Get all the other foreign materials, such as burlap and rope, out of the planting hole.
The next step will be to actually fill in the hole with soil. While many people use mixed soil that contains things like peat moss, in most cases you can simply fill the hole in with the same soil that you took out. Whatever soil you use, make sure it’s good quality and that it is the right soil for the tree species you are planting. Make sure that you pack the soil tightly enough that there are not any air pockets, but not too tightly as this can prevent oxygen from reaching the roots. Watering the soil and allowing it to drain again about halfway through the process will help keep the soil comfortably firm, but not too tight. Once you have filled in the planting hole, smooth out the soil and make sure the trunk flare is not covered by any soil.
Once you have planted your tree, you have accomplished the hardest part. However, care in the early stages of a tree’s life is crucial. As the tree gets older, it will require less maintenance, however, younger trees need regular care. An arborist should take a look at your new tree and make recommendations as to the care of your tree.
You may benefit from mulching your tree; placing a layer of mulch around the base of the tree can keep weeds at bay, as well as keep the soil from overheating. You’ll have to be careful because too much mulch can be damaging. A ring of mulch about three times the diameter of the root ball that reaches up to the trunk, but does not touch it, is the safest bet.
You may also need to stake your tree. Often, people stake their trees when it isn’t necessary and this can cause the tree to be weakened in the long run. However, if you believe the tree is not stable enough to stand on its own, then you can place a stake into the ground to brace the tree, but try to remove it after one season once the tree’s roots have had a bit of time to strengthen.
Caring for your tree extends far beyond the planting process. You should regularly have your tree checked by an arborist. In the Portland, OR area Mr. Tree is your best bet to maintain the beauty and health of your tree over its lifetime.