Thursday, May 24, 2018

How NOT to Kill a Tree!

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now."

Whether providing cool shade in the heat of summer, beautiful blossoms or fruit, trees are truly one of the wonders of nature.  With spring upon us it's a great time to plant a few trees in your landscape or add a few to your orchard. 

There are basically three options when choosing a tree:  bare root, balled & burlap, or container trees. 

Bare Root:

  •  Come with no soil around the roots and are to be planted when dormant
  • More economical
  • No girdling or circling roots
  • Easy to handling and work with
  • I believe they surpass the growth of others trees and are the best option especially for fruit trees
  • Not as many landscape species are available bare root

Balled & Burlap:

  • Dug with ball of soil around the roots and are wrapped in burlap and a wire basket
  • 2" to 3" caliber trees (trunk width) are best for landscape
  • Allows you to plant a more mature tree
  • Be sure to cut off the wire and remove the burlap
  • Be sure the root collar is above the soil level
  • Heavier and more difficult to plant

 Container Trees

  • These are the most common type found at nurseries
  • Be sure to pull tree out of the container and look for circling or girdling root.  They will kill the tree down the road.
  • These have a limited root system
  • Be sure they are not planted to deep.  You should be able to see the root flare or grafting union above the soil

Fall in the orchard absolutely gorgeous!

General Rules on Growth

1st year they sleep  (all the energy is devoted to root system)
2nd year thy creep (you will notice slow growth)
3rd year they leap (you will notice lots of growth)

General Planting Principles

  • Make planting hole for container and balled and burlap 2-3 times WIDER than the root ball with sloping side
  • Do NOT dig the hole too deep.  You want the root flair above ground level.
  • The bottom of the hole should be firm undisturbed soil
  • Do not amend the soil more than 25 % with compost it is best to  plant in native soil so roots do not decide to stay in the amended soil area begin growing in a circular pattern. 
  • Roots tend to grow outward not downward
  • Back fill with soil dug from the hole 
  • Do not fertilize the first year and then only on an as needed basis

Trees are beautiful in any season.  Winter in the orchard.


Mulching is very important and often overlooked.  Mulch conserves moisture, moderates soil temperature, and reduces weeds.  
  • Do NOT put down a plastic before applying the mulch.  
  • It will not allow for drainage and air movement. 
  •  Apply 2-3 inches of a decorative mulch or compost.  
  • Do not put mulch right up next to the trunk.  



  • Regular water is necessary and important the first 2 years while your tree is establishing a healthy roots system.
  • Water new trees every 5-7 days
  • Established trees can tolerate a wider rage of conditions
  • Fruiting trees need regular watering to size and sweeten fruit and avoid stress

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid planting landscape trees in the middle of the lawn
  • Avoid damaging trunk with a weed whacker or mowing equipment
  • Avoid stacking objects where roots are
  • Never top a tree when pruning

Things to keep in mind when choosing the site and tree

  • Know your zone and plant species appropriate for your area
  • Know the height and width of the mature tree before choosing a site
  • Do not plant too close to the house, other structures or power lines


Never prune without a reason!!!!!!!

Reasons To Prune

  • Remove dead or damaged wood
  •  Eliminate rubbing or crowded branches
  • Eliminate hazards
  • Develop a strong structure
  • In fruit trees, to increase light and air flow

Go out on a limb and plant some trees this season!

No comments:

Post a Comment