Perfect Tree Planting Tips
Spring and early summer is perfect time to add new trees to your landscape. Many people plant trees quite incorrectly by placing them too deep into the ground. This is one of the leading causes of premature tree loss resulting from girdling roots around the buried portion of the stem.
Most trees planted by homeowners come as potted or container-grown trees because they are easy to maintain on the sale lot and easy to handle for planting. Unfortunately, potted trees also have root systems that contact the pot and grow in circles as they follow the inner surface of the pot.
If even the slightest bit of the tree’s trunk is placed below soil grade, these circling roots will eventually contact and girdle of the trunk as both grow in circumference. Trees typically fail when they reach the diameter of the original pot size.
Expert planting recommendations emphasize the importance of finding the first main root on the stem prior to planting. At completion, this main root or root flare should be at or slightly above the finished soil grade or turf.
If the soil in your garden is heavy clay soils main root should be above the soil grade with a wide planting space where soil is brought from normal grade up to the base of the tree. This will create a slightly raised area, allowing for better drainage.
Circling roots can be removed by shaving the root ball with an old saw. Simply saw off the outer 1/2 to 1 inch of the soil and circling roots. The fresh cuts will promote development of new lateral roots.
Tree planting site should be prepared by loosening the soil in an area three to five times the width of the root ball to create a space favorable for root growth. Wider planting spaces with mulch cover will promote much more rapid establishment and growth.
Dig no deeper than the required depth to allow the first root to end up at the appropriate grade. If soil is loosened below the root ball, the tree will settle and end up below grade.
Finish off the site with about a 3-inch layer of mulch to conserve moisture and moderate temperature in the root zone. Make sure that mulch is not piled against the trunk. Just use a very thin layer over the root ball and at the base of the tree.
Tagged with: add new trees to your landscape • Circling roots • container-grown trees • potted trees • premature tree loss resulting from girdling roots • tree planting recommendations • trees planted by homeowners
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