Did you know that tree selection and planting makes a big difference in the future health and success of a tree? Trees can transform a yard, adding; beauty, shade, privacy, fruit, and much more. They are also an investment, so you want to make a wise choice. If you are looking to add a new specimen to your property, keep reading for our easy selection and planting tips. These tips will help protect your investment and transform your landscape for many years to come.
Selecting the Right Tree
Beginning the tree selection process is as easy as stepping out of your front or back door. The trees you see in your neighborhood will tell you what types of trees thrive in the area and which ones will have a difficult time surviving. Trees that are acclimated to the local environmental conditions are more likely to be robust and need less care. As you observe the trees in your neighborhood, pay close attention to factors such as:
- The amount of sunlight or shade
- The size of the trees
- The ground (wet or dry)
- Environmental stresses
You’ll also need to know the pH level of your soil, so you can determine whether you need a tree that prefers acidic or alkaline soils. A certified arborist can come to your property and administer a pH test if you aren’t sure!
Another reason to choose an indigenous tree or shrub is because they are more resilient to diseases and insect infestations. Trees that are acclimated to the environment are more likely to be healthy and therefore able to ward off diseases and pests.
Also, think about size and growth rate as you consider a tree for your planting site. The mature size of a tree is commonly over looked while shopping at a nursery—you see a tree that will fit perfectly into your planting spot now, but what about in 5 years? Do yourself a favor and make sure that the tree you have your eye on with not outgrow its location!
Planting a Tree
Once you’ve picked the perfect tree, it’s time to get it home and get it in the ground. If you don’t handle your tree carefully during this process, you may be jeopardizing the condition of the roots, branches and foliage.
Rule number one is to never lift a tree by the trunk! Allows lift by the root ball. Here’s what else you should consider:
- Transportation home
- Hole dimensions
- Placing the tree and filling the hole
While transporting your tree home, do anything you can do to stabilize it. Making sure your specimen is secure will reduce harm to the foliage and branches. Even if your tree is dormant and you don’t see any foliage, it can still suffer from a bouncy ride home and the drying wind. Keep that in mind!
The planting hole should be at least 1.5 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the root ball. A broad hole will allow the roots to expand and grow. When you place the tree in the hole, be sure that the trunk is vertical. You can then start filling the hole one-third of the way full, and carefully pack the soil around the base of the root ball.
After the tree is in the ground, you can help it get established by lightly pruning away dead limbs and branches and watering once a week for the first year. You can skip the fertilizers during the first year—the salt may burn the roots of a tree trying to establish itself.
Follow these easy steps for selecting and planting your new tree, and you will be pleased with your investment when it flourishes and beautifies your landscape. Want more information on how to select the right tree and plant it? Chris Ahlum’s book “Guide to Ohio Trees: 40 Years, 40 Trees” is a great resource. Call us at (614) 876-5622 to find out how you can get your hands on a copy!