If this year’s spring weather and celebration of Earth Day have you considering planting your own tree, there are a few things you should consider first. Planting a tree is more than just digging a hole in the ground. In fact, there are several important steps to consider when you plant a tree that can impact the tree’s health for its entire lifetime. If you want to make sure that you don’t throw away time or money during your tree planting adventure, read on for the essential steps that will help you plant a tree you love.
Wait Until After the Cicadas Are Gone
Since this is a year for millions of Brood X to cicadas to emerge, hold off on any new tree planting until after the cicadas are gone. At the end of their adult cycle in late June, the female cicadas inject their eggs under the bark of pencil-sized branches causing damage to tree branches. Mature trees can withstand this damage but many young trees will be severely damaged and many may die.
Find a Spot
Find the spot in your yard where you would like to place your tree. Stand in the site, and look up to ensure that a potentially tall tree will not have to contend with power lines or other obstructions.
Call Before You Dig
811 is the national “call before you dig” phone number. The resource at this number can inform you of any restrictions related to utility lines.
Sample the Soil
Send some soil from the area to be tested. The results will help you know which tree will fare the best on the site, so your tree doesn’t struggle.
Conduct a Percolation Test
Make the hole you dug for the soil test a bit bigger, and fill it with water. Time how long it takes for the water to drain out completely. If there is still water after a day, you may have to do some soil decompaction so water can drain better.
Choose Your Tree
Finally, you can choose the best tree to plant. You can use your soil information, space available, and percolation test to ask a nursery for the best tree for your site.
Dig a Quality Hole
Now it is time to dig a hole for your tree. You only have to do it once, so make sure you dig the best hole for your tree. The hole should be at least twice the width of the root ball and no deeper than from the first root to the bottom of the pot or root ball. The first root should be no more than one inch under the soil.
Plant the Tree and Water
Now you can finally plant a tree on your property. Place your tree in the hole and backfill it with the soil recently dug out. Next, water the tree thoroughly but do not oversaturate the hole. Your percolation test results can help you know how much water the hole can stand. Then, you can add two to four inches of shredded mulch over the planting area.
Stakes and Supports
Many newly planted trees benefit from staking and support during its first year in the ground. Once the tree roots into the soil, usually after one year, the supports should be removed.
Develop a Watering Plan
After you plant a tree, plan to water it about once a week, depending on how well your soil drains. You want the tree’s soil to be moist, never completely wet or dry. Consistent watering should last throughout the first growing season.
If you’re ready to plant a tree and see it thrive for years to come, it is essential to follow these steps to prepare your landscape for a new tree.
Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare
Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!