A Guide to Successful and Sustainable Tree Planting

A Guide to Successful and Sustainable Tree Planting

Tree Planting is an Investment

Planting trees is an investment in the future of your landscape, but doing it right is crucial for their survival and long-term health. With tree plantation becoming a regular part of companies’ CSR activities and a carbon offsetting tool, this guide provides valuable tips and insights into tree planting, covering everything from selecting the suitable species to proper planting techniques and ongoing care.

The Importance of Proper Tree Planting

Trees and shrubs enhance the beauty of a landscape and contribute to its overall value. However, improperly planted trees can lead to issues and concerns. Proper planting ensures the quick establishment of trees, makes them more resilient to adverse conditions, and reduces the need for intensive management. Here is the step-by-step guide to ensure tree plantation is done correctly.

Surveying the Planting Site

Before purchasing a tree or shrub, a thorough survey of the planting site is essential. Consider factors like overhead power lines, underground utilities, and the anticipated full size of the plant. Planning for the tree’s future growth prevents issues with buildings, driveways, and sidewalks. Choosing disease-resistant varieties is a proactive step to avoid potential problems

Choosing the Right Size of Plants

Deciding between large and small plants involves establishment speed, water stress, and overall economics. While larger plants provide instant landscaping appeal, they might suffer from water stress due to root loss during digging. Smaller plants, particularly container-grown ones, establish faster, are more economical, and experience less transplant shock.

Selecting the Right Tree: Container-Grown, Balled-and-burlapped, or Bare-Root

It is understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different types of trees and how to mitigate potential issues during planting.

Container-grown plants offer the advantage of limited transplant shock. However, the risk of circling roots inside the container exists. Untangling or cutting these roots is crucial before planting to ensure proper establishment and prevent future girdling.

Plants harvested as balled-and-burlapped have actual soil around their roots, improving water movement post-planting. However, water becomes crucial for these plants to survive root loss during harvesting.

Bare-root plants are cost-effective, with a more significant portion of roots retained at harvest. Proper positioning of roots during planting is crucial for their successful establishment.

The Planting Process: Digging, Untangling Roots, and Avoiding Common Mistakes

A step-by-step guide to planting trees, from digging the right hole to ensuring proper root care.

Digging a hole two to three times wider than the rootball and of the same depth is essential for successful planting. While wide spots are crucial, proper planting depth is equally important in clay soils. Disturbing the ground beneath the rootball can lead to settling issues.

Container-grown plants require special attention to untangle or cut circling roots. Neglecting this step may result in slow establishment and potential girdling issues in the future.

For balled-and-burlapped plants, the planting medium is actual soil. Understanding the removal of natural or synthetic burlap is crucial, as synthetic burlap can girdle roots. Wire baskets holding natural burlap should be removed if possible.

For bare-root plants, spreading roots and positioning them with the top root just under the soil surface is vital for successful planting.

Post-planting, ensure the removal of tags, wires, or ropes from stems or trunks. What comes out during planting should go back in, maintaining the plant’s natural state.

Aftercare: Watering, Staking, Pruning, and Mulching

Guidance on post-planting care, including watering schedules, staking recommendations, pruning restrictions, and the benefits of mulching.

After planting, thorough watering is crucial, followed by weekly maintenance for the first year or until the plant establishes itself. The rule of thumb is one inch of water per week.

While staking is generally unnecessary, large trees in windy locations or bare-root trees may benefit. However, staking is not recommended for most plants as it may slow growth and establishment.

Restrict pruning at planting to broken, injured, diseased, or dead branches. Avoid pruning to compensate for root loss, as trees and shrubs need their top growth to develop new replacement roots.

Mulching with pine needles, compost, or shredded bark offers protection from string trimmers and helps prevent water loss. Mulch should be two to three inches deep around the plant.

The health and longevity of your trees depend on proper species selection and planting practices. Taking the time to plant trees correctly increases their survival rate, providing shade and beauty for years. Follow these guidelines for successful and sustainable tree planting, contributing to a greener and more vibrant landscape.

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