Mill Creek Tree Care
Planting New Trees
Ready to plant some new trees in your yard, or considering what all is involved?
Here are some broad questions to consider as you proceed.
Are you embarking on a new tree-planting project? We can help here too – here are some things to think about: Ultimately, your ability to care for your trees starts with picking the right ones. Start by asking yourself why you’re planting trees. Aesthetics? Wind breaks? Privacy? To line your property, or provide shade? All of this matters, as it will help lead you to the right tree selection.
Next, consider where you’re planting. Questions to ask include: What hardiness zone do you live in? What are the ground conditions? What other objects are nearby? How much sun does the space receive? How big will the selected tree become? Luckily, the Arbor Day Foundation offers a great resource here that answers all of these questions: Tree Care Tips & Techniques at arborday.org
Once you’ve though through some of these considerations, you can select your tree. Deciduous, Evergreen, smaller flowering trees – all will provide different aesthetics, shade, winter-warmth, etcetera. End each will have unique care requirements.
So you’ve selected a tree type. Now it’s time to purchase or acquire your trees. If you plan to purchase saplings from a nursery, check for a few things: root structures that are moist and fibrous, and (generally) roots about equal to tree stem (trunk) length. Note that this may not apply for trees which are larger. For trees grown or placed in containers, avoid trees with large, circling roots. Additionally, avoid roots which are thicker than a finger. This could indicate over-growth, and may create problems after you plant. Lastly, look for soil and roots which are joined tightly together and appear healthy and robust. For plants wrapped in a bag/burlap, the root ball should be a healthy size, and shouldn’t appear small in comparison to the tree itself. Additionally, inspect trees for insects or foreign objects, or physical damage. Look for a healthy and well distributed branch growth (avoid lopsided trees if you can). Inspect the bark, and look for any issues like discoloration, peeling, etcetera. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or a second opinion – some trees (especially more exotic ones) may be harder to assess. We’re happy to help with this type of analysis so you end up with the exact type of tree you desire.
Don’t forget the mulch! Mulch is incredibly helpful for young saplings, as it insulates the soil, retains moisture, protects from temperature swings, pushes out weeds and foreign objects, protects from edgers and lawn mowers, and helps to prevent compacted soil. Before applying, remove any grass or plants in a diameter around the tree (2 feet for small trees, up to 12 feet for larger ones) and add 2-4 inches of bark, or chipped wood mulch around the tree – taking care to not allow the mulch to contact the trunk. Next, its time to water.
After planting a tree – get the hose ready and plan to feed it immediately. Generally, 20-40 seconds from the hose is enough water. Consistent watering (based on tree type) and mulch coverage are a new tree’s best friends during the early months. Note that over-watering can harm trees. Test your soil by digging a small hole and feeling for moisture. Soil that is moist-but not water-logged is ideal. On the contrary, draught can also hurt trees (if not kill them). If you live in a draught-prone area, take care to select hearty trees that are likely to survive these conditions. The same goes for areas with lots of rain. Too much rain can injure trees. Do your due diligence prior to purchasing trees. This will make care easier, and increase the chances of strong, long-lasting foliage. Here are some more helpful tips for planting: Trees Planting Guide at arborday.org