Planting Tips

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Trees And Shrubs Installation

Planting trees and shrubs requires more than just digging a hole and putting them is the ground. Many times I have seen landscaping companies and home owners install new trees and shrubs only to watch some of them die from incorrect planting. This is not only a waste of time, but more important a loss of money. You don’t have to be a professional horticulturist to be successful and have the landscape you desire. For healthy trees and shrubs it all starts   with a good foundation, by following the right planting tips.

Before purchasing, selection is very important. Make sure that you only choose trees and shrubs that are adaptable to each location. Light requirements and mature size, need to be considered. Quality is also important, so shop at a reputable garden center or nursery.

For shrubs, pick ones that are not “Broken”, “Cracked”, or “Scared”. For trees, choose ones that are “Upright” and full of Branches (Not Thin). Look at the foliage. If they are Dropping their Leaves or don’t look Healthy with Droopy Leaves. If they are, Don’t Buy Them!

Planting Tips 

1) Prepare area by removing debris such as rocks, dead leaves, dead branches, and old mulch using a garden rake. Grade area to a proper level for proper drainage.
2) Do Not add amendments for they are not beneficial to use when planting. The roots will be kept from spreading. Shrub Roots need to grow beyond the branch spread. Roots of large trees need to grow at least 30-feet from the trunk, providing support and for them to find nutrients.
3) Remove tree or shrubs from it’s container by laying it on it’s side and hitting the pot with heel of your hand. pull it out after it has been loosened. If it does not come out freely, cut the container down the side away the “Root Ball”.
4) Break apart “Root Ball”  down the side with garden shears, an ax, or your hand. This gives the roots a chance to grow outward to become established quicker, and absorbing nutrients and water faster.
5) Avoid air pockets by filling the hole with water first. Place tree or shrub in the hole and fill the sides with dirt but not compacting it to tightly. Water after the tree or shrub when you are finished planting.
6) Do Not Plant or Bury Trees or Shrubs Too Deep. Plant them no deeper than they have been grown in the container. The “Root Ball” should be even or slightly above the soil surface to allow for settling. I recommend slightly above. Planting at the correct level assures they will receive the right amount of air.
7) Plant the good side facing forward (the direction you want them to be seen) because they might not have been shaped properly by the retailer or nursery before being sold. This is especially for shrubs. Proper pruning after tree or shrubs become established will help them to grow well-rounded.
8) Planting tips for shrub placement – Do Not place shrubs too close to each other. You want to give them room to grow to their mature size (Read Label) It is important to know how each type will eventually grow in size. Plant shrubs Three Feet apart and Three feet away from Buildings, or Fences. Over planting is a common mistake causing over-crowding and over spending.
9) Apply mulch over the root ball around the base at a two-to-three inch layer. Do Not pile mulch up against the trunk of the tree or shrub leaving space, and spread it evenly around it. Too much mulch piled against shrubs can cause root or stem rot. They need air circulation.
10) Planting tips for fertilizing – Fertilize after “Thirty Days” of planting. Place Granular Fertilizer one to two feet away from the trunk around the tree or shrub at an even rate. Place top of mulch or pull mulch apart and place on top of the soil. Use trees and shrubs fertilizer 8-10-10. Follow directions for amount on the fertilizer label.
11) Planting tips when planting  trees – It is important they have a strong foundation and are placed upright. Staking larger trees is recommended for support protecting them from wind before roots become established. form a saucer like basin with a burm around the tree to aid in watering.
12) Do Not plant trees that will become large too close to buildings for the roots can damage the foundation. Limbs can break off during storms damaging roofs and windows.
13) Do Not plant trees where the roots will grow under driveways and sidewalks for the roots can damage concrete or brick Plus, the tree can have health problems from roots being buried under them.
14) Remember if you have a large tree on your property line the owner is responsible for trimming limbs growing into your neighbors yard, and any damage done from broken falling limbs.

Following these planting tips will ensure healthy growing trees and shrubs. Proper shrub planting will avoid any of them from having possible problems, which can lead to them eventually dying. Correct trees planting gives a good foundation for them to grow and live for a long time in your landscape.

Author, Kurt Kmetz

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