When it comes to planting a sapling (a young tree), it’s crucial to be prepared and properly plant the tree to ensure that it has the best odds of surviving. Initially, planting a tree can be hard on the health of a tree. Roots are cut, leaves can be lost, and without proper precaution, the tree can be bent, dented, or broken. That’s why we take great care to plant every tree with planning and care. Here’s what we’ll do to give your young tree the best odds at thriving and living a long life.
Planning for Your Tree
First and foremost, we’ll plan the right spot to plant your tree or trees. It’s crucial to take into account the view, how large the tree will grow, how close the tree is to structures on the property, how to irrigate for the tree, and how well the tree integrates into the surrounding landscape. Once we’ve worked with you to determine a viable location, we’ll pick up a healthy tree, and then it’s time to dig.
Digging a Hole
We usually plant saplings that come with a significant root ball or a pot that is several gallons in volume. We’ll dig a hole to match the size of that root ball or pot. It’s important to make sure that the tree isn’t planted too shallow or too deep. A tree that’s planted too deep can suffocate the roots of a tree. A tree that’s planted too shallow may struggle to collect water and it might leave the tree overexposed to weather and erosion.
Placing the Tree
Next, it’s time to place your new tree. Depending on the size of the tree, we may use machinery, a tree dolly, or just good old fashioned man power to lug your tree into place. If the tree is potted, we’ll remove the pot and place the tree in the hole that we’ve prepared. If your tree base is encapsulated in a root ball, we’ll remove the root ball while it’s in the hole (more on that next). Before backfilling, we’ll shift the tree to make sure that its trunk is straight, and we’ll rotate the tree to its most picturesque position.
Readying the Root Ball
If your tree has a root ball (which is usually surrounded by burlap and wire), we’ll remove the wiring and cut the burlap of the root ball. Often, for larger trees, a bit of burlap may be left at the base of the tree. This burlap will naturally disintegrate, and it will allow for normal root growth. After removing the root ball fabric and wire, we’ll give the tree one more adjustment to perfect its position. Finally, we’ll cut into the root ball to break open some of the small roots at the surface of the root ball (this encourages root growth), and then it’s on to backfilling the soil.
In most cases, we’ll mix fertilizer with the soil that was displaced in order to give your tree a head start. We’ll backfill with this mixture until the soil is level with the base of the tree. In addition, we’ll add a ring of soil around the tree to ensure that water accumulates around the tree and then percolates into its roots. Next, we’ll douse your tree with water. This ensures that the soil settles, and it initiates your tree’s integration into the surrounding earth.
Caring for Your New Tree
Once your tree is safely and soundly transferred into your landscape, you’ll have to take special care to make sure your tree survives its early days. We’ll go over proper care for your recently planted tree in our next blog, so stick around!