While many of us might think that spring is the perfect time to plant trees, it is well known in the landscaping industry that the fall season is prime time for planting of a large assortment of trees and shrubs. And if you follow our advice, you’ll be very happy with the results.
Planting during the fall and into winter is optimal as it allows for three seasons of root growth before the most stressful time of the year for any type of plant – summer. Root development, which is deemed the heart of a tree, is one of the most important aspects of tree planting success.
An efficacious tree is a result of the fact that its roots have developed well. A beautiful tree means that its roots, which are its primary method of extracting water and nutrients from the ground, is getting what it needs from Mother Nature (and maybe give it a little extra bump by adding an organic soil conditioner). Obviously, there are other factors involved in successful tree planting, but for the purpose of this blog we’re going to focus primarily on the importance of making sure roots are established.
Once you figure out when you want to plant your tree, it’s crucial to stick to the basic principals of tree planting. One of the most important elements is proper preparation of the planting pit or root ball hole. A hole, at least twice the width of the original tree’s root ball, is recommended and must be dug. The soil must then be loosened, and we recommend mixing in an organic soil conditioner with the original soil such as Daddy Pete’s Composted Cow Manure.
Then, when positioning the tree’s root ball in the hole, make sure you leave the tree’s original ball surface at ground level or even slightly higher than ground level. Once the blended soil is packed around the root ball, slope the soil from the outer ring size up to the edge of the root ball without placing soil on top of the root ball. Mulch should then only be positioned and managed at a 3” depth over the root ball and planting pit area.
After planting, we highly recommend applying Fertilome Root Simulator, a liquid rooting hormone and fertilizer packed with essential vitamins, to the root ball on a weekly basis for three to four consecutive weeks. You may also need to stake your tree to stabilize it during the early root development phase – in general, for the first year or so of the tree’s life. Check occasionally for possible adjustments to the trees staking guy or support methods as to prevent girdling of the tree’s trunk or branching.
One more thing, it’s important to keep an eye on how much water your tree is getting. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to watch it through the second summer of its development to make sure it’s receiving plenty of water.
Have any other questions about fall planting? Give us a call at 423-282-3431 or visit us in Johnson City at 511 Princeton Rd.