How to plant a tree correctly


Planting a Tree

Trees are an investment. How well that investment grows depends on several factors including, the type of tree planted, its location and the care provided. Getting your new tree off to a healthy start will help the tree mature to its full size and ensures it will provide environmental, economic, and social benefits throughout its lifetime.

Learn more about planting a new tree.

When to Plant

 

Dormant seasons, the fall after leaf drop and early spring before bud break, are ideal times to plant new trees. Be sure the weather conditions are cool and allow time for new plants to establish roots in the new location before spring rains and summer heat stimulate new top growth. Healthy bailed and burlapped or container trees can be planted throughout the growing season. In areas where trees grow year round, tropical and subtropical climates, any time is a good time to plant a new tree as long as sufficient water is available.

Planting Stress

 

Transplant shock is a state of slowed growth and reduced vitality following transplanting and can affect balled-and-burlapped trees lose a causing them to lose a significant portion of their root system when dug at the nursery. Container trees may also experience transplant shock. Proper site preparation, careful handling to prevent further root damage, and good follow-up care reduces transplant shock and promotes faster recovery.

How to Plant a Tree

Carefully follow these nine steps to help your tree establish quickly in its new location: 

1. The trunk flare is where the trunk expands at the base of the tree. Ensure trunk flare is partially visible after the tree is planted. Remove excess soil prior to planting if flare is not visible. 

2. Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Holes should be 2–3 times wider than the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball.

3. If wrapped, remove any cover from around the root ball and trunk to facilitate root growth. Remove wire basket or cut one or two rings off so it is low-profile and will not interfere with future root growth. Inspect tree root ball for circling roots and straighten, cut, or remove them. Expose the trunk flare if necessary.

4. Place the tree at the proper height. When placing the tree in the hole, lift by the root ball, not the trunk. The majority of tree’s roots develop in the top 12 inches (30 cm) of soil. Planting too deep can be harmful to the tree.  

5. Straighten the tree in the hole. Before filling the hole, have someone examine the tree from several angles to confirm it is straight.

6. Fill the hole gently but firmly. Pack soil around the base of the root ball to stabilize it. 
Fill the hole firmly to eliminate air pockets. Further reduce air pockets by watering periodically while backfilling. Avoid fertilizing at the time of planting. 

7. If staking is necessary, three stakes or underground systems provide optimum support. Studies have shown that trees develop stronger trunks and roots if they are not staked; however, it may be required when planting bare root stock or on windy sites. Remove stakes after first year of growth.

8. Mulch the base of the tree. Place a 2–3 inch (5–7. 5 cm) layer of mulch, but be sure not to pile much right against the trunk. A mulch-free area of 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) wide at the base of the tree will reduce moist bark and prevent decay.

9. Provide follow-up care. Keep the soil moist by watering at least once a week, barring rain, and more frequently during hot, windy weather. Continue until mid-fall, tapering off as lower temperatures require less-frequent watering.

Other follow-up care to consider:
• Minor pruning of branches damaged during the planting process may be required. 
• Prune sparingly after planting. Delay corrective pruning until a full season of growth.
• If trunk wrapping is necessary, use biodegradable materials and wrap from the bottom. 

Consult your local ISA Certified Arborist® or a tree care or garden center professional for assistance regarding your tree. 

Note: Before you begin planting your tree, be sure you have located all underground utilities prior to digging. 811 is the US national call-before-you-dig phone number. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to their state 811 center’s website.

Right Tree – Right Place

 

Proper tree placement can enhance your property and prevent costly maintenance and repairs down the road. Consider utility lines, the side walk and driveways when choosing a location.  A local arborist or tree care professional, utility company, local nursery, or county extension office can help with proper tree placement.

Mulching

 

Mulching is one of the most beneficial practices a homeowner can use for better tree health. Mulches are applied to the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. However, if misapplied, mulch may have little, or even negative, impact on the trees in your landscape.

The benefits of proper mulching include:

  • Reduces soil moisture loss through evaporation.
  • Controls weed germination and growth.
  • Insulates soil, protecting roots from extreme summer and winter temperatures.

Learn more about proper mulching techniques

Avoiding Tree and Utility Conflicts

Determining where to plant a tree is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Many factors should be considered prior to planting. When planning what type of tree to plant, remember to look up and look down to determine where the tree will be located in relation to overhead and underground utility lines.

Learn more about planting trees near utilities.

Overhead Lines

 

Overhead utility lines are easy to spot, yet often overlooked. Planting tall-growing trees under or near these lines eventually requires your utility provider to prune them to maintain safe clearance from the wires. This pruning may result in the tree having an unnatural appearance. Periodic pruning can also lead to a shortened life span for the tree.

Tall-growing trees near overhead lines can cause service interruptions when trees contact wires. Children or adults climbing in these trees can be severely injured or even killed if they come in contact with the wires. Proper selection and placement of trees in and around overhead utilities can eliminate potential public safety hazards, reduce expenses for utilities and their customers, and improve landscape appearance.

Underground Lines

Trees consist of much more than what you see above ground. Many times, the root area below ground is larger than the branch spread. Electric, gas, water, and sewer lines installed underground can be compromised by tree roots. Roots commonly spread many times the breadth of the tree crown and can extend out farther than the height of a tree. 

Locating Underground Utilities
The greatest danger to underground utilities occurs during planting. Accidental digging into underground utilities can cause costly repairs to restore interrupted service or result in injury or loss of life. Before digging call your utility company or locator service to make sure you have located underground utilities. Never assume that utilities are buried deeper than you plan to dig. Locating underground utilities before digging is often required by law. 

Planting Trees Correctly | Home & Garden Information Center

When to Plant

Container-grown plants and balled and burlapped (B&B) plants with well-developed root systems can be planted throughout the year. However, most B&B plants are dug and planted during the cooler months after leaf drop. Red maples, crape myrtles, hollies and Southern magnolia can be dug at certain times during the summer. Innovative methods of digging during the winter and then potting the B&B trees for subsequent sale during the summer have begun in South Carolina.

As stated, container grown plants can be safely planted at any time of the year, but they are best planted in the fall to take advantage of the dormant season root growth. Unlike the tops of ornamental plants that go dormant and cease growth for the winter, roots of ornamental plants in the Southeast continue to grow throughout the warmer fall and winter months. Fall planting allows the carbohydrates produced during the previous growing season to be directed to root growth since there is little demand from the top. This additional root growth may lessen the dependency of the plant on supplemental irrigation the following summers.

Trees and shrubs must be planted at the right depth and receive the right amount of water if they are to establish themselves and flourish. Planting too deeply and under- or overwatering are among the most common and serious planting errors.

Soil Preparation

While shaping the final grade of the planting beds, remember the importance of good drainage. Poorly drained soils are a leading cause of plant problems in the landscape. Therefore, before placing the first plant in the ground it is important to take steps to assure adequate drainage.

If a site is known to be poorly-drained, create raised beds. Often beds can be elevated 8 to 12 inches above the existing grade by using native soil on site, but sometimes it is necessary to bring in additional well-drained soil. In extreme cases, you may have to install a drain tile to help carry water off the site.

In shaping the final grade, avoid leaving dips or pockets where water is likely to stand. Shape beds so that excess water will be carried off the site and away from buildings. Water also can be directed to unplanted areas. Few ornamental plants, with the exception of pond plants, can tolerate long periods of standing water. Good drainage is critical for most ornamental plants.

If you are planting around new construction, remove any debris left on the site that may cause plant growth problems. Chunks of concrete, roofing shingles, globs of tar, oil spills and sheetrock are a few of the hazards of new construction sites. These can result in long-term growth problems. Soil compaction is also a problem near new construction. Tilling deeply and incorporating organic matter is often sufficient to loosen hard compacted soils.

Soil Test

In addition to examining the physical properties of the soil and taking corrective measures on poorly drained soils, a soil test will determine which nutrients need to be applied and whether you need to adjust the pH. A soil sample is best taken several weeks before planting so you will know how to treat the soil at planting time. However, if new soil is brought onto the site at planting time or if soil is moved around during the final grading, it is best to wait until all the soil is in place before sampling. You can adjust pH or surface-apply fertilizer at the recommended rate later, after plants are established. Soil testing is available at a nominal fee through county Extension offices. For more information on soil testing, refer to the fact sheet HGIC 1652, Soil Testing.

The majority of ornamental plants prefer a soil pH from 5.8 to 6.5. Above or below this pH range, nutrient deficiencies often result. To raise the pH level of an acid soil, dolomitic lime is usually added, while the pH level of alkaline soils can be lowered with amendments like sulfur or aluminum sulfate. Adjusting soil pH without the benefit of a soil test can result in nutrition problems that are difficult to counteract and correct. Follow soil

test results.

Organic Amendments

Organic amendments such as composted products are applied to soils to improve the nutrient and water-holding capacity of soils, or, in general terms, to improve soil tilth. Research has shown that when adding organic matter to a soil, it is best to incorporate it throughout the rooting zone as opposed to placing it in the planting hole. By incorporating an amendment uniformly in the soil, the entire rooting area becomes a uniform growing environment for roots.

On the other hand, when a planting hole alone is amended, the structure of the soil in the hole can differ significantly from that of the surrounding native soil, if an excessive amount or the wrong type is added. This can encourage the roots to stay within the confines of the hole and discourages them from entering the surrounding native soil, especially if a perfectly round planting hole is dug.

Some types of organic materials and quantities of them can also upset the water equilibrium between the surrounding native soil and the soil in the hole. Fine-textured organic matter such as peat moss, placed in the planting hole can act like a sponge in a bathtub, holding too much moisture after rain or irrigation. Coarser-textured material, such as composted pine bark, is less likely to hold excess moisture. In heavy clay soils, use a shovel or mattock to notch out the sides of the round planting hole. This will enable growing roots to more easily enter the surrounding soil.

Organic matter should comprise approximately 10 to 20 percent of the total soil volume. For example, preparing a bed 8 inches deep requires the addition of about 1 to 2 inches of organic matter such as compost, leaf mold, or composted pine bark. Drainage can be improved in clay soils by subsoiling or deep tilling prior to adding organic matter.

Composted materials immediately provide organic matter to the soil. Do not use uncomposted bark products as amendments. Freshly milled bark that has not been composted will slowly rob plants of nitrogen when used as an amendment. As microorganisms in the soil feed on bark and decompose it, they will use nitrogen in the soil. Also, the pH of the soil often drops dramatically below the desirable range when uncomposted materials are used as amendments.

Well-composted organic products have a rich, earthy smell, a crumbly appearance, and the original organic materials are no longer recognizable. For the best choices of composted material, choose either well decomposed material from your home compost pile, or purchase composted pine bark. The composted pine bark may still contain some small bark chips, but this can aid in improving the internal drainage in fine-textured clay soils. Additionally, composted pine bark may help suppress certain soil borne disease causing organisms.

How Deep to Plant

Trees and shrubs must be planted at the right depth and receive the right amount of water if they are to establish themselves and flourish. Planting too deeply and under- or overwatering are among the most common and serious planting errors.

In well-drained soil, the planting hole should never be dug any deeper than the height of the root ball. This means that the soil at the bottom of the hole is left undisturbed. Setting the root ball on loosened soil will cause the tree to settle and sink too deeply into the soil. Locate the topmost layers of roots in the root ball so that it will be level with the soil surface. Check to be sure that there is not an excess layer of soil (or container media) already covering the root ball. As little as a half-inch of excess soil over the root ball can inhibit or prevent water from entering the root ball, especially on trees planted from containers. Only mulch should be placed over the root ball. In well-drained soil, the planting hole should be at least twice and preferably five times wider than the root ball. Roots will grow more quickly into loosened soil, thus speeding up the tree’s establishment time.

In poorly drained or compacted soil, the plant is best placed higher than its original planting depth at about 2 to 4 inches higher than the surrounding soil. Be sure to build the soil up beside the root ball so that the sides are not exposed, and do not place additional soil on top of the root ball. This will allow oxygen to reach the roots in the upper surface of soil. It will also cause excess water to drain away from the plant rather than collecting beneath it. Do not disturb the soil under the root ball to prevent any later settling, which will move the plant roots deeper into the soil. The top of the root ball may dry out quickly in the summer on some sites, so be prepared to irrigate accordingly.

Preparing & Setting the Root Ball

Trees and shrubs grown in plastic or other hard-sided containers can be removed from their containers and placed directly in the holes prepared for them. Cut any circling roots so they will not strangle the tree later on. If a tree or shrub is pot-bound, use pruning shears or a serrated knife to make slices 1 to 2 inches deep going from the top of the root ball to the bottom. Make these slices in three or four places around the root ball. Pull the roots growing along the outside of the root ball away from the root ball. Research has shown that although this kind of pruning does not increase root growth after planting, slicing root balls, whether pot-bound or not, enhances the distribution of regenerated roots in the surrounding landscape soil. New roots grow from behind the cut ends.

When preparing the hole for a bare-root tree, dig it wide enough so that roots can be spread out. Do not cut or break roots or bend them in order to fit the hole. Use a sharp pruning tool to cut or trim any roots that are obviously dead, injured or dried.

Spread the roots out and position the topmost root just under the soil surface. Shallow roots either may be parallel with the soil surface or angled slightly downwards. Some people spread the roots over a mound of firm soil in the planting hole and carefully place soil between groups of roots; others wash soil between the roots.

Natural or synthetic burlap is used on trees that are balled-and-burlapped (B&B). To determine which type has been used, hold a match to a small portion of the burlap. As a rule, natural burlap will burn and synthetic will melt.

Synthetic burlap will not decompose in the soil and can cause roots to girdle the tree. Because this could ultimately strangle the tree, remove synthetic burlap entirely. After pulling burlap away from the sides of the root ball, tip the root ball to one side and push the burlap underneath it as far as possible. Then tip the root ball to the other side and slide the burlap out from under it. The tipping should be performed by handling the root ball; pushing on the trunk of the tree could crack the root ball. When a wire basket is holding synthetic burlap in place, cut away the basket to remove the synthetic burlap, or, if the lower portion of the basket must be left intact, cut an “X” in the burlap in each section of the basket.

Natural burlap is biodegradable and can be left along the sides and bottom of the root ball, but should always be removed from the top of the root ball where it is subject to drying out. Dry burlap repels water, making it difficult to rewet the root ball. In poorly drained areas, remove the natural burlap entirely, if possible, to prevent it from holding too much moisture near the roots.

Wire baskets and wire wrapping are frequently used to help hold a B&B root ball intact during shipping and handling. Trees that are stored after being dug with a tree spade are also placed in wire baskets. This is an effective means of keeping roots in contact with soil until planting. Remove at least the top portion of the wire basket after the root ball is in place.

Filling the Planting Hole

The soil used to fill in around the root ball of the newly planted tree or shrub is called backfill. Your best backfill will be the loosened original soil from the planting hole mixed with 10 to 20 percent compost.

Loosen and break up any clods of soil before backfilling. Clods in the backfill create detrimental air pockets around the root ball and could hinder root growth and establishment. Place the plant into the planting area or hole at the correct depth, and then backfill the bottom half of the space around the root ball.

Tamp the soil lightly with your foot. If amendments are not used, do not tamp so heavily as to compact the soil. Finish filling the hole with loose, unamended soil, and gently tamp again.

Construct a 3-inch-high water ring around the edge of the root ball to hold irrigation water. Initially the root ball will need to be watered directly because roots have not yet spread into the surrounding soil.

Pruning at Planting

Little if any pruning should be necessary at the time of transplant. Do not prune a B&B plant to compensate for root loss. Research indicates that pruning does not help overcome transplant shock unless the plant is receiving insufficient water.

Branches that are injured, diseased or dead may be pruned but are also an indication of a poor-quality tree. It would be best to exchange it for a healthy one.

Trees with poor structure should be pruned at planting to correct the problem, especially if no further pruning is planned for the next year or two. Poor form should not be permitted to develop, as it will become increasingly more difficult to correct. On trees with adequate form, begin pruning for structural development a year or two after planting.

Mulching

Apply 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch over the planted area. Do not allow mulch to touch the stem or trunk to reduce chances of stem rot. Mulching helps to eliminate weeds, retain moisture in the soil, moderate soil temperatures, and eventually adds to soil organic matter content. It also helps decrease erosion of raised soil around plants that are planted above the soil level. Some commonly used mulches include pine needles, pine bark, hardwood bark, wood chips and partially ground leaves.

Watering

Initially the root ball will need to be watered directly because roots have not yet spread into the surrounding soil. The raised soil water ring will help concentrate the water in the root ball area. Water the plant slowly and well after mulching. It is important to note that many plants die from too little or too much water during the first few months after planting. Plants in well-drained soil often get too little water, and those in poorly drained soil get too much water.

Become familiar with the planting site, and try to maintain constant moisture (not saturation) in the root ball for the first few months after transplanting. Some sites dry out more quickly than others and will require more watering. Water rings should be removed by the end of the second growing season if they have not settled on their own. Good watering practices result in plants that establish more rapidly and thus become more quickly resistant to drought, pests and disease. For further information on watering newly planted shrubs and trees, refer to the fact sheet HGIC 1056, Watering Shrubs & Trees.

Maintenance

For more information on fertilizing trees and shrubs, refer to the fact sheet HGIC 1000, Fertilizing Trees & Shrubs.

Para obtener la versión en español de esta hoja informativa, consulte HGIC 1001S, La forma correcta de plantar árboles.

Originally published 05/99

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at [email protected] or 1-888-656-9988.

How to plant a tree - Lifehacker

May 15LikbezAdvice

Follow Lifehacker's advice, and the tree will definitely take root.

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How to find the best planting site

Most trees will thrive in flat areas where moisture does not stagnate. If there are no such conditions, you must first level the places of future landings - add or remove a layer of soil and walk along the surface with a rammer. Drainage at the bottom of the planting pit will cope with waterlogging of the soil.

Place the trees on the south and southwest sides to provide adequate lighting. It is also important to keep a distance between seedlings - as they grow, they should not obscure each other and interfere with development. Therefore, keep in mind what size they will reach in the future, and take this into account when marking out plantings so as not to get dense jungle instead of a beautiful garden.

For example, vigorous apple and pear trees can reach a height of 5-6 meters, so they should be placed 4-6 meters apart. The height of undersized ones, as a rule, does not exceed 2-3 meters, and they can be planted at a distance of 1.5-3 meters. Plums, cherries, cherries, apricots and peaches need a distance of 3-4 meters.

At the same time, vigorous trees should be planted at a distance of at least 5 meters from residential buildings and 4 meters from the neighbor's fence. The distance for medium-sized people is at least 2 meters, for short people - at least 1 meter.

Think in advance where and what kind of trees you want to plant, and only then go for seedlings.

How to choose seedlings

For young trees, it is better to go to trusted sellers or specialized nurseries, which guarantee good quality seedlings and their conformity to the variety.

It is better to choose the so-called zoned varieties: they are specially bred taking into account the climate in different regions. For example, trees suitable for cultivation in the south are unlikely to overwinter in the central zone.

The optimal age of the seedling is from one to three years. Of course, older plants look prettier, and it seems that they will bear fruit faster. But the older the tree, the larger its root system. This means that it will suffer more from digging and transplanting to a permanent place, and this will not have the best effect on survival.

Seedlings can be sold with a closed and open root system. In the first case, they will be planted in pots or containers with soil. The roots of such trees are protected and continue to develop, so after landing in a permanent place, the tree will take root faster. Another plus is that such trees can be planted during the entire growing season.

Seedlings with an open root system lack these advantages. When choosing them, it is necessary to ensure that the roots are protected from drying out: they are covered with wet sawdust or are in a container with a special clay mash. The buds of such trees should be alive, but dormant.

Whichever root system you choose, pay attention to the condition of the trunk and root collar, where the roots directly connect to the trunk. They should not have mechanical damage, dark spots, traces of fungal diseases and rot.

Image: Garden Guide / YouTube

When to Plant a Tree

Close-rooted trees can be planted from early spring to late autumn, from April to October. In the spring, you have to wait until the snow melts, and the temperature stays above 0 degrees. In summer, avoid too dry and hot weather. But in the fall, you need to have time before frost.

Bare-rooted trees should preferably be planted in a dormant state, in early spring or late autumn, when the temperature does not fall below 0 degrees. At this time, the kidneys are asleep.

When choosing a time, be guided by the climate in your area. In the south, it is preferable to plant trees in autumn: the heat here can come already in early spring, and therefore young seedlings can get sunburned before they have time to fully take root. In the central regions, you can choose both seasons due to the temperate climate. But in the north, spring tree planting will be the best option - this way you will exclude the death of a fragile seedling from severe winter frosts.

In addition, it is important to remember that for planting in late autumn, only winter-hardy varieties should be selected. Otherwise, the tree runs the risk of freezing before it begins to take root.

How to store seedlings before planting

Seedlings with a closed root system do not require special preparation. If you do not have time to plant them in the fall, in winter they can be stored in the basement or on a glazed balcony at a temperature of 0 to 4 degrees Celsius.

With seedlings with an open root system, things are a little more complicated. If you buy them in late spring or summer, when the buds are already budding, plant the trees as soon as possible, rather than trying to save until autumn: this way they are more likely to survive. If you buy them in the fall and plant only in the spring, place the roots in plastic bags with damp peat or sand and send them to winter storage. All in the same basement or on a glazed balcony.

How to prepare a planting hole

For spring planting, it is better (but not necessary) to prepare a hole in the fall. So the soil has time to settle, and the nutrients are evenly distributed. For autumn gardening, you can prepare a hole at any time, starting in spring, but not less than a month before the planned planting of a tree in the ground.

Dig a hole of the right size

Image: Igor Bilevich / YouTube

The diameter of the planting hole should be twice the diameter of the seedling's root system, and the depth should be three times the length of the roots. When digging, you need to lay off the upper, fertile, layer of soil on one side, and the lower one on the other.

Make a drainage layer

Shot: Igor Bilevich / YouTube

This is necessary if groundwater is high on the site - in such cases it is often flooded in early spring. Expanded clay, broken brick or crushed stone is suitable for drainage. At the bottom of the pit, you need to put at least 10 cm of material. This will protect the roots of the seedling from rotting.

Fill in fertile soil

Shot: Igor Bilevich / YouTube

Mix the excavated topsoil in equal proportions with peat, compost or humus. If the soil in the area is clayey, you can add another part of the sand. For additional nutrition, add 50 g of wood ash and 15–20 g of nitroammophoska. Pour all the components together with the soil to the bottom of the pit, mix well again and pour plenty of water.

Wait for the ground to settle

This will take at least 14 days, or even better, wait a month. By this time, the soil will have time to settle down enough, and the planted tree will subsequently not go deep into the ground after rains and watering.

How to plant a tree

After the soil in the hole has settled, slightly loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole and start planting the seedling.

Place the tree in the hole

Shot: Igor Bilevich / YouTube

The root collar should be flush with the ground. If it is lower, there is a risk of rotting and even death of the tree.

In order not to make a mistake, you can put a long board or stick on top of the pit. If the neck is lower, add fertile soil to the bottom of the pit, if higher, dig out unnecessary soil.

Gently straighten the roots of the tree so that they point to the sides, not up. Sprinkle them with earth, slightly compacting the soil around the trunk.

Install the stake

Image: Hitsad TV / YouTube

Carefully drive the stake, 1.5-2 m long, into the soil so that it is stable enough, and tie the trunk to it. This will give the tree the support it needs until it gets stronger.

Water the seedling

Image: Hitsad TV / YouTube

Make a watering hole 5 cm deep, 20–30 cm in diameter, around the trunk by removing the soil from the center outward with a hoe or small spatula. Gently pour plain water into the hole in small portions, allowing it to soak. For a young tree, two buckets of 10 liters will be enough.

Mulch the trunk circle

Shot: Alexander Kvasha / YouTube

This technique will prevent the soil from drying out and prevent weeds from germinating. Peat, compost, dry leaves, wood chips or rotted sawdust are suitable as mulch. They need to be poured in a layer of 3-5 cm around the trunk along the diameter of the landing pit.

How to care for a tree

In the first year, caring for a young tree does not cause much trouble. It is enough to follow just a few simple rules:

  • Cover the trunk of the seedling from the root to the lower branches with garden whitewash to protect the young bark from sunburn.
  • Refrain from top dressing, because all the necessary nutrition was introduced when planting in the ground.
  • Periodically loosen the soil around the trunk and remove weeds.
  • In severe drought, water the tree liberally.
  • Remove young growth around the trunk so that the tree does not waste its energy on its growth.

Read also 🧐

  • How to grow a petunia to enjoy lush blooms all summer
  • How to grow lettuce in a garden bed or windowsill
  • When and how to plant seedlings in a greenhouse and open ground
  • 10 ways to make a greenhouse with your own hands

How to plant a tree in spring

Novice gardeners are wondering if it is possible to plant a seedling in the spring and how effective will the tree take root in this case? We understand the rules for successful spring planting of trees.

When thinking about which trees to plant in spring, you need to consider the region in which you live. For example, for the southern regions, the optimal time for planting is autumn, because trees planted in spring may not have time to take root before the onset of hot days, which means they risk getting burned or dying.

But in the central regions, the timing of planting trees can fall both in autumn and in spring - due to the temperate climate, seedlings have every chance to take root in the same way. For the northern regions, spring planting of seedlings is the best option, since trees planted in autumn often do not have time to acclimatize and die from hypothermia.

Spring tree planting: pros and cons

Let's start with the benefits of spring tree planting:

1. In spring there is an opportunity to observe the process of plant survival, and the probability that it will freeze, as often happens in winter, is practically reduced to zero.

2. You will have enough time to prepare everything related to planting fruit trees: fertilize the soil, think over the planting plan, get a tool, which means that the procedure itself will be more qualitative.

The disadvantages of spring planting are as follows:

1. Seedlings should be bought in autumn, because in spring the choice on the market will not be so wide.

2. If the summer is hot, young trees will have to be watered almost every day.

Preparing the seedling for planting

It is better to buy tree seedlings in autumn, when the plants are already at rest. And before planting seedlings in the spring, they need to be prepared. Carefully inspect the root system and cut off dead, rotten or damaged roots with a sharp pruner. Remove growths, shorten too long roots.

To improve root formation, before planting, dip the roots of the seedling into a growth stimulator solution (Kornevin, Heteroauxin, Kornerost, Rooting, etc.).

10 days after planting, it is recommended to water the seedling under the root with a solution of a growth stimulator (0.5 l per 1 plant).

Pit preparation

Since most of the trees are photophilous plants, the best location of the garden on the site is the south and southwest side. When planning to plant trees on the site, remember that it is important to observe the correct neighborhood. So, cherries and apple trees feel great next to each other, but they do not recommend planting a pear next to cherries, cherry plums and plums.

Depending on the species, the distance between trees when planting should be between 1.5 and 6 m. Row spacing (m) Distance between plants in a row (m) Apricot 5-6 3-4 Tall cherry 4-5 3-4 Low cherry 3-4 2.5-3 Pear on a vigorous rootstock 6-8 4-6 Pear on a stunted rootstock 4-5 1.5-2.5 Peach 5-6 3-4 Tall plum 4-5 3-4 Dwarf plum 3-4 2.5-3 Apple tree on vigorous rootstock 6-8 4-6 Apple tree on a weak rootstock 4-5 1.5-2.5

For the spring planting of trees, the soil must be prepared already from summer-autumn, so that a favorable environment for the seedling is formed in it in a few months. In extreme cases, work is carried out in the spring after thawing the soil, 1-2 weeks before planting.

At the first autumn digging, large weeds should be selected from the soil, during the second - fertilizer should be applied at the rate of: 6-8 kg of compost and 8-10 kg of a mixture of peat with superphosphate (80-100 g), potassium salt (30-50 g ) and potassium sulfate (30-40 g) per 1 sq.m of the site selected for planting trees.

In the spring, before starting to dig planting holes, mark their contours with a shovel (for convenience, place a stake in the selected place and use it as the center of the circle).

For pear and apple trees, the standard planting hole is 80-100 cm in diameter and 60-70 cm deep. Plum and cherry seedlings will feel good in a hole with a diameter of 70-80 cm and a depth of 50-60 cm. If the seedlings are more than 2 years old, then the size of the hole needs to be increased.

You can be guided by the following rule: the diameter of the planting hole should be 1. 5 times the diameter of the seedling's earthen clod.

How to plant a seedling correctly

When digging, on one side of the pit, fold the top (turf, 15-20 cm deep) layer, on the other - the bottom (it has a darker color). Make the pit round and make the walls vertical (sheer). Insert a strong stake 1.5-2 m long into the bottom of the pit in the center in order to later tie a seedling to it. Lay the excavated sod layer at the bottom, then fill the pit with a part of the fertile substrate to a height of 15-20 cm (mix equal amounts of peat, compost and the soil removed from the pit).

Form a mound at the bottom of the hole and place the seedling in it (close to the stake), spreading the roots evenly.

Make sure that when planting the roots of the seedling do not bend upwards: the bent roots develop worse and "slow down" the survival of the tree.

When planting a seedling in a hole, dig it into the soil strictly along the root neck, ideally it should be located 3-5 cm above ground level. Later, the soil will settle a little, and the root collar will drop. If the seedling is too deep, the plant may later begin to rot. While holding the seedling (you will need someone's help for this), fill the hole with the remaining substrate.

The root collar is where the stem of the plant meets the roots. Usually it is 2-3 above the topmost spine.

Gradually compact the ground with your feet, pressing it from the edge to the center of the tree circle. Tie the trunk of the seedling not very tightly to the stake in two places, so that when the soil "shrinks" the tree also falls.

Form a roller around the tree along the perimeter of the circle (we will get a watering "pool").

Watering trees after planting

Immediately after the tree is planted, it must be watered under the root. The water pressure should not be too strong so that the soil does not erode, so use a watering can with a bell or a hose with a sprinkler nozzle. After filling the "pool", wait until the water is absorbed, then fill it again. The first watering will require 1-2 buckets of water.

In the first year after planting, watering of seedlings is carried out quite often - as the soil dries up (during the drought period - 1-2 times a day). Then the frequency of watering is gradually reduced, and completely stopped for 2-3 years.

Experienced gardeners recommend mulching the near-trunk circle of a tree - pouring a layer (8-10 cm) of mulching material (wood chips, sawdust, mowed grass, etc.), leaving the root neck uncovered. This will improve the structure of the soil, protect it from freezing.

Primary care of planted seedlings

During the first year of life of a planted tree, it is necessary to monitor how it develops and, if possible, correct deficiencies. It is not necessary to feed the seedling in the first year, since all the main fertilizers were applied during planting. The trunk circle should be loose and free from weeds.

Keep a close eye on a young tree and look for leaf-eating caterpillars that can cause great harm to the plant.


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