Rebecca's Garden Blogs

Get those hands dirty! Rebecca Kolls of Rebecca's Garden has great tips for gardeners. Whether you're planting flowers, vegetables, herbs or trees and shrubs Rebecca can help!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Planting Trees in the fall

Fall is an excellent time to plant deciduous trees. Not only can you typically get a good deal from the nursery, but the as the trees lose their leaves they are no longer using a lot of energy making food and they're not taking up as much water. So by planting trees in the fall you reduce the shock plants go through when planted during warmer months. Just be sure to do it right - don't plant the tree too deep.

Think of digging a saucer shaped hole. Start by digging a hole 3-4 times wider than the tree's rootball. The depth of the tree will be determined by the "root flare." This is the first horizontal root on the trunk. To find it, remove the tree from its container and start pulling away soil from the top. Typically trees are planted deep in containers so that the soil's weight will anchor and stabilize the tree when its being shipped. So don't be surprised if you remove 6-10 inches of soil before finding the root flare. Also, gently detangle any twisted roots. If you notice the roots growing in a circle as they conformed to the pot, it will be critical to cut them and stretch them outwards. Otherwise the tree's roots will strangle the tree as it grows.

Place the tree in the hole, making sure the "root flare" is at or slightly below the soil surface (no more than 2 inches). Backfill the hole with the same soil you dug out (don't amend the soil). Toggle the tree back and forth making sure the soil settles. Water and drain. Add more soil if necessary and water again. Finish the hole by creating a saucer shape with soil. This will help direct water to the root zone.

Don't stake! Trees develop a stronger trunk if they can bend with the wind. If however, the tree can't stand upright on its own then you should stake it.

Happy Planting,

Until next time keep those hands dirty.

Rebecca

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