3 Tips for Planting Trees Every Homeowner Needs to Know

Trees at nursery depicting planting trees.

Planting trees does not have to be an overwhelming project if you have the right steps to guide you through the process.

When you follow proven techniques from choosing the right tree to plant to care and maintenance, you can be confident that you will be able to enjoy that tree for many years to come.

You will be able to realize the return on your investment of time and money.

It is important to remember that proper tree care begins when you first select a tree for planting according to the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit conservation and education organization.

What you do with that tree during the first years of its life has a profound effect on its shape, strength, and span of life.

3 Tips for Planting Trees

Trees are for a lifetime. The following tips for planting trees will give your new tree the best start and help it to flourish.

Choose a Proper Location to Plant

Be sure that your tree will thrive where you want to plant it. It’s a good idea to get your soil tested first, before choosing a tree.

There are some homemade tests you can do to find out if your soil is sandy, clayey, or just right. You can also test the pH of your soil with this simple method:

  • Get a cup of dirt from your garden in different locations, two cups, some vinegar, and some baking soda.
  • Put two spoonfuls of soil into each cup.
  • Add a ½ cup of vinegar to one of the cups of soil. If it fizzes, you know you have alkaline soil with a pH between 7 and 8. Alkaline soil is not ideal for most plants, which prefer neutral soil or soil that is slightly acidic.
  • To test for acidic soil, add distilled water to the other cup until you make mud. Then add ½ cup baking soda. If this mixture fizzes, you have acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6.

No reaction is good! It means you have a neutral pH.

In addition, keep in mind that if you choose to plant a tree that does best in a climate other than the one in which you live, you are probably not going to get the best results.

To determine the hardiest trees for your climate zone, see the Arbor Day Foundation’s tree wizard tool.

Choose a Healthy Tree

Inspect it carefully when delivered or at the nursery. The following are tips on what to look for:

Bare root tree

Bare root trees are seedlings, and this is one of the best ways to plant a tree in your yard. Seedlings have less chance of being in shock than larger plants. However, you will need to protect them from wildlife! Inspect for abundant root growth, many small roots, good color; moist.

Balled and burlapped tree

Look for the soil ball to be firm with the trunk tied securely. Do not accept a plant with a broken burlap “ball.” Do not take a tree with that has a trunk with circling roots at the base.

If it is possible, rototill an area five times the size of the diameter of the root ball and as deep in preparation for planting. This will encourage the roots to grow outward and stabilize the tree more quickly.

Minimally, you need to dig a hole as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. Backfill the hole firmly, making sure not to leave any air pockets.

If the soil comes above the tree’s collar, compact it to be sure the collar and surface roots are exposed.

Container-grown tree (containerized and potted)

Disregard trees that are “root-bound” in the container. Roots that wind around inside the container may become circling roots that should be cut before being planted.

Remove the pot or basket before planting, being careful to slide the tree from the pot carefully instead of pulling it by the trunk.

To separate the roots and prevent them from continuing to conform to the shape they were in, cut an x shape in the bottom of the root ball and four slashes vertically from top to bottom.

Take care to water adequately. The Arbor Foundation suggests, “Tree watering is a key part of tree care, and it is difficult to recommend an exact amount due to the varieties of climates.”

Most new trees will need watering more than anything else to become well-established. However, it’s possible to over-water a new tree and kill it that way.

Choose an Effective Watering System to Water Your Trees

It can be stressful on a tree when transporting it from the farm to its new home.

The trees roots are either bound up in a container or a burlap “ball.” This process removes 95% of the structure of the roots and imposes the tree to live in a state of shock.

Following best practices for watering the new tree will make sure that it has a healthy start.

It is critical that you provide adequate water deep into the soil to encourage deep root growth. Many people have tried using watering bags without success. Aeration tubes provide a more effective solution.

Watering Bags vs. Aeration Tubes for Watering Trees

Watering Bags

Watering bags are designed to put water at the trunk of the tree. The bag allows for a slow drip of water into the root ball. This can cause encircled roots, which can lead to the death of a tree.

Aeration Tubes

Placing aeration tubes around a newly planted tree will allow for the delivery of water, oxygen, and nutrients deep in the soil or root zone.

This process will capitalize on deep root growth and the health of the newly planted tree. Rootwell Product Inc.’s Rootwell Pro-318 is a scientifically proven aeration tube system that provides a comprehensive solution to help trees thrive.

The best tree planting tip of all is to give it a decent start.

Rootwell aeration tubes

Consider Rootwell Products, Inc.’s Pro-318 TreePac for your newly planted tree.

To learn more about this innovative three-in-one system, please see: Rootwell Versus Tree Watering Bags.

For Homeowners: To purchase online, please visit our retail store.

For Contractors: To purchase online, please visit our contractors’ store.


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