With Arbor Day marking the mid-point of spring, there’s a focus on urban/suburban forestry and the importance of planting trees. Here at Rock Father HQ, we have two trees in our yard – the biggest of which is directly in the center of our front yard. That tree was pretty small when we moved here seven years ago, and with care (I prune it regularly and have fertilized it), it’s now taller than our house. Planting a tree is a pretty easy way to revamp a yard, and it can add value to your home – but there should be some planning involved. My friends at Davey Tree have put together a helpful guide to assist homeowners in planting the right tree in the right spot.
The Golden Touch: Plant the Right Tree in the Right Spot
A well-planned yard can produce a landscape that will cool your home in summer and block cold winter winds. Properly placed trees avoid collisions with power lines and buildings, and the aesthetics can increase your home’s curb appeal and add value.
Set your new tree up for success by planting the right tree in a spot where it can thrive for generations to come.
The first step is to decide on the right tree for your yard and needs before you plant.
Just like people, trees have different personalities and jobs. If you’re looking for lots of shade and to lower energy bills, plant big deciduous trees like an oak or maple. Looking to attract wildlife to your yard? Try a flowering dogwood or hollies with bright red berries. Wanting to increase privacy or add a wind block – plant evergreens like hemlock, spruce or hollies
And remember to plant a variety of tree species. This will not only craft an elegant landscape, but will also prevent diseases or insects from spreading quickly through your landscape. A good rule of thumb is to plant no more than 15 percent of a single type of tree in one yard.
Next, size up your yard for the perfect spot.
Take the amount of sunlight, ground vegetation and hazards like wires or pipes into consideration. Plant at least 15 feet away from your house, sidewalks, driveways and other trees.
Allocate enough space in the yard for your new tree to grow. Consider its mature height, crown spread, and root space. A fully grown tree will take up much more space than your tiny sapling. Look up to make sure a fully grown tree won’t interfere with anything overhead.
Call before you dig. The Common Ground Alliance has the 811 program to help protect those digging holes from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines. Learn more here: http://call811.com/
6 Easy Steps to Plant a Tree
You’ve found the right tree and the perfect spot, now it’s time for the fun part. It doesn’t take much to plant a tree — just a shovel, tape measure and hose. To help your new tree survive, you’ll need to put in extra effort. Use these tips to help your new tree to grow.
Plant during the right time of year. Fall is the usually the best time to plant a tree, but it varies depending on the tree species and where you live.
Get digging. Dig a hole two to three times larger than the root ball. This will allow the tree’s roots to spread out as it grows. You want the top of the root ball to be ½ inch higher than the ground around the hole to prevent water from collecting at the tree’s trunk.
Backfill the hole. Fill the hole three quarters of the way with existing dirt and one quarter with organic matter or topsoil.
Stake the tree. Use two opposing, flexible ties to stake the tree. Place ties on the lower half of the tree to allow trunk movement.
Water. Your new tree needs to be watered weekly for the first two years to help it get established in its new environment.
Finish with mulch. Use 2 ½ -3 inches of shredded hardwood or leaf mulch around the plant. Do not over mulch up to the trunk or “volcano” mulch. This can kill the tree.
Planting a tree is an investment in your home and your community that will pay off for years to come. If you need an extra hand planting or caring for your tree, give a Davey arborist a call, and they’ll be there to help. Check out Davey.com for more.