Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Landscape - Proper Tree Planting

Fall tree planting season is coming up in early November. Many problems with trees in the landscape can be traced back to improper planting. The following is an article on the subject.

Many times trees are injured when improperly handled during planting or if planted at the wrong depth. Symptoms due to improper planting may occur soon after planting or not until several years afterward. Correct handling and planting techniques help to ensure survival of newly planted trees.

● Depending on tree species, plant in the early spring or fall.
● Prepare the planting hole properly so that roots are not cramped.
● Prevent roots from drying out before planting.
● Remove plastic and burlap wrapping on balled trees whenever possible. Plastic must be removed. Alternatively, after placing the tree in the planting hole, burlap should be loosened from around the trunk and/or cut away and removed from the top part of the ball, with the remainder left in place.
● Plant the tree at the same depth that it was growing in the nursery.
● Water immediately after planting (and periodically) for two seasons to maintain a moist, but not waterlogged, soil. Ideally, trees need about 1 inch of water every 7 to 10 days.
● Support the tree with rubber-protected guy wires attached to two sturdy stakes or poles. Support wires must be removed once trees roots have become established (usually within 2 years). Guy wires that are left on trees will eventually strangle the trunk.
● Mulch soil at the base of the tree to maintain soil moisture, control weeds, and minimize mower damage. Maintain mulching to a maximum depth of 2 to 3 inches. DO NOT pile mulch “beehive style” around the base of the tree – excessive mulch restricts aeration to the roots and keeps the trunk abnormally moist.
● Do not fertilize when planting; wait until about one year after planting

Reprinted from "Common Injuries to Trees in the Urban Landscape" by Ann B. Gould, Ph.D., Specialist in Plant Pathology and Mark C. Vodak, Ph.D., Specialist in Forestry in the September 21, 2006 edition of the Plant and Pest Advisory, Landscape, Nursery, and Turf Edition, from Rutgers University.

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