Spring is a great time to plant a tree for shade and savings. Trees not only increase the value of your property, but can also reduce energy costs by providing much needed summer shade.
Step 1: Choose the right tree. Height, canopy spread, and hardiness should be taken into consideration; as well as sun and moisture requirements. Purchasing trees from a local nursery will insure the tree you select is appropriate for the climate in your area.
Step 2: Use a digging shovel to dig a hole, not too big and not too small. Too deep of a hole will limit the amount of oxygen roots have access to. A narrow hole will restrict root growth and reduce nutrient intake. Generally, the hole should be the same height as the existing root ball or container and 3-4 times wider.
Step 3: Dig the hole six inches deeper than necessary and back fill the hole with loose soil until it is the same depth as the root ball or container. Adding soil amendments when planting trees is not recommended. Simply use the soil you removed to fill in around the tree.
Step 4: Remove any strings, tags or wires from the tree and cut away the material covering the tree’s root ball. If the ball is covered with a natural material, like burlap, cut the material away from the top two thirds of the root ball. If the material is synthetic or plastic remove it completely.
Step 5: Gently place the tree into the hole. Handle the tree by its root ball, rather than its trunk or limbs.
Step 6: Once the tree has been positioned properly, cover the roots loosely with the soil you removed. Be sure to leave the area around the tree base exposed.
Step 7: Cover the planting area with one to three inches of mulch. Do not over mulch and keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree too prevent rotting.
Step 8: Water the tree thoroughly and keep the soil moist around the tree base of the next several weeks, gradually increase the time between watering to acclimate the tree to natural rain fall.
Generally, trees do not need to be staked. If you do stake a tree, remove the stakes after the first year.