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A Guide To Planting Trees

Before planting new trees, determine both your needs and the existing conditions of your site. Like all plants, trees have specific light, soil and space requirements. Remember that many trees grow quickly and continue to grow for many years. Once trees are established, they’re not easy to move so its important to plan your garden in advance. Research the different type of trees you’re considering planting before making a final decision.

Choose a tree that will compliment your garden. Large shade trees are usually not suitable for smaller gardens. Tulip trees, for instance, can grow to 90 feet and, over time, will tower over a small garden or courtyard creating a fully shaded environment. Planted in a vast lawn, however, the tulip tree may be the perfect choice. If you have limited outdoor space, a smaller tree such as the cherry, dogwood or magnolia is more appropriate.

Know the mature size of the trees choose and plan your garden accordingly. Allow adequate space between your tree and your home to avoid any problems. High winds can cause heavy limbs to fall and potentially damage your roof. Large trees can also interfere with power lines and their roots can crack a driveway.

Another important issue to consider is whether a full grown tree will interfere with a walkway. A tree planted along a front walk can be beautiful at first but over time may grow too large for its spot. An inappropriately placed tree may need to be pruned often, resulting in an awkward shape or may even need to be transplanted to a more suitable location.

Familiarize yourself with the existing conditions of your garden and the specific light and soil requirements of your new trees before planting. Many trees require lots of sunlight to while others prefer a bit of shade. In order for trees to reach their mature height, they need to be planted in nutrient rich, well-drained soil.

A row of trees can be an ideal way to mark a boundary line or create a privacy screen. Trees also protect your home and garden from elements such as biting winds and blowing snow. In the summer, trees create shade providing a break from the hot afternoon sun.

While at the nursery, choose a healthy looking tree with a burlap covered root ball. Carefully check the trees trunk and be sure to choose one without damaged bark. Also check the trees branches for broken limbs.

When you're ready to plant, dig the hole twice the diameter of the root ball and just as deep. Trees are heavy and planting them often requires two people so have a friend help place the tree in the hole. Be sure the top of the root ball is level with the existing grade of the garden. Avoid planting trees too deep or too high. Backfill the hole with a mix of compost, peat moss and existing soil. Once the hole is halfway filled, add water to eliminate any air pockets. After the water and soil settle, finish backfilling the hole, create a saucer around the trunk and water again.

Prior planning is essential to the success of your garden. Research the requirements of the trees you decide to use and find the best possible location. With some initial planning, trees which are properly located and planted, can last a lifetime with very little maintenance.

by R. Birch


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