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Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement
Trees offer many wonderful benefits to a home and its surrounding
landscape. Not only do they provide help clean air and shelter from
wind and sun, but they also reduce heating and cooling bills,
provide living conditions for wildlife, and add value to your house.
When deciding to plant a tree(s), careful planning and preparation
Selecting the right tree(s) for your yard can be a difficult
decision. Trees are an expensive investment so it is important to
put careful thought into your final choice. There are several things
that you should keep in mind during the selection process. It is
suggested that you do some careful researching before purchasing a
tree. Good resources include local libraries, universities,
arboretums, parks where trees are identified, native plant and
gardening clubs, and nurseries.
Questions to ask about trees:
• What is the level of maintenance?
• What is the main purpose for planting the tree?
• Does the species agree with its surrounding area? Consider the
climate and the type of trees that are commonly found in the area.
Diversity is good, but only if the tree can survive in your local
• Consider the size of the tree. How tall will it grow with in 15-20
years? Many trees grow to overpower or even endanger the homes they
• How long will the tree live?
• Does the tree have any distinctive qualities? Unique leaf color?
Fruit or vegetable growth?
• Is the tree deciduous or evergreen?
• What is the soil condition of the site where you plan to grow your
• Is the tree susceptible to insect damage, disease, or another
related flaw that might reduce its usefulness?
Once you have selected the tree that is right for you, you must now
decide on where to plant the tree. It is important to check with
local authorities about any regulations on particular placement of
trees. Certain areas prohibit the placement of trees within a
specific distance of streetlights, sidewalks, the street and
utilities. Other considerations include the size of the tree,
ornamental/flowering effects, possible obstructions, level of shade
and the trees affect on gardening and other landscaping. Also, look
at the area where you plan on putting the new addition and make sure
the amount of sunlight the site receives matches the amount the
Trees can be planted practically anytime of the year. However, late
summer or early fall are great times for growth because roots can be
established before winter comes to freeze the ground. You should
avoid planting in extremely hot weather and during cold seasons
where the ground may be frozen.
Trees are sold in three main categories; container grown, balled and
burlapped (B&B), and bare root.
Container Grown Trees: Trees grown in containers that have been
field propagated for selling and planting all year round. They
suffer little transplant shock, can be planted through out the year,
they are easy to ship and handle, and they range in size from small
trees to large trees.
B&B Trees: Trees that are dug with the root ball intact, then
wrapped for shipment and planting. Moving and planting may be
difficult because B&B trees are generally very heavy.
Bare Root: Trees which are available once they have become dormant
and should be planted as soon as possible. They are available in
arrange of sizes. They are the least expensive.
Steps for planting a tree:
1. Check with your local utility companies for any underground
2. Dig a hole at the width of at least 3 times the diameter of the
root ball or container or the spread of the roots in the case of
bare root trees. The bottom of the hole should be flat. The soil
should be roughed up for roots to be able to penetrate through it.
3. Never pick up a tree by the truck; it may lead to severe damage.
4. With container grown trees, you must first carefully remove the
tree from the container. Place the tree on its side with the roots
facing the hole. Loosen the root ball from the container. In the
case of metal or plastic containers, remove the container
completely. In the case of fiber containers, tear the sides away.
The root system should be pulled apart or ‘butterflied' prior to
planting. Gently separate circling roots on the root ball. Shorten
extremely long roots, and guide the shortened roots downward and
outward. Keep in mind that root tips will die quickly when exposed
to light and air.
5. B&B trees should be planted as soon as possible, although they
can be stored for a short time in the proper conditions. Be sure to
remove the string or wire that holds the burlap to the root crown,
as well as any string or twine. Combinations of peat moss, composted
manure, topsoil (backfill soil) are then placed in the hole
surrounding the tree just to the height of the ball.
6. Bare root trees are planted differently because there is no soil
surrounding the roots. Be sure to plant as soon as possible and make
sure to keep the roots moist. Build a cone of earth in the center of
the hole allowing room for roots to grow. Spread plant roots out
evenly over the cone. Also, when filling the hole with soil, lightly
tamp the soil to collapse air pockets, or add water to help settle
7. Mulch the area around the tree. Do not let the mulch touch the
trunk of the tree because the moisture from the mulch can rot the
bark on the trunk.
8. You may need to stake depending on the size of the tree and the
condition of the site. Large trees could use some support.
• Water the trees well and slowly enough to allow the water to soak
• Particular tress, such as evergreens, may need extra protection
against harsh weather. Watering and spray solutions are recommended.
• Protect young trees against harm from rodents, frost cracks,
sunscald, and lawn care tools.
• Pruning is suggested only to remove dead or broken branches. Some
fruit trees need to be shaped and thinned to promote fruiting. It is
typically unnecessary to prune newly planted trees.