How to Plant a New Tree
Why Plant a Tree?
Almost any tree you choose will add value to your home, among countless other benefits.
Here’s why you should invest both time and effort in planting trees:
- Attractive, tree-filled landscapes improve human health in cities. They can lower blood pressure, improve overall emotional and psychological health, provide UV protection, and lessen the potential for airborne pollutants.
- Trees also clean the air we breathe, decrease air pollution, support wildlife, slow stormwater runoff, conserve rainwater, buffer noise pollution, and bolster people’s health.
- Strategically placed trees create shade and help save up to 56 percent on annual air-conditioning costs. Trees such as evergreens, if placed strategically around a home, can lower heating costs by 20 to 50 percent during the winter.
- Urban trees contribute to safer cities. Trees aid in reducing traffic speeds which make for safer pedestrian walkways. In addition, communities with a sizeable urban forest have lower crime rates.
- On average, homeowners achieve a 109 percent return on landscaping dollars spent, higher than any other home improvement. Real estate assessors recognize that a house on a lot with trees or in a neighborhood with mature trees is up to 20% more saleable!
- Trees increase curb appeal. Buyers are willing to spend an additional 3 to 7 percent on homes with many trees rather than one with few or no trees.
Tree Planting FAQ’s
Tree Planting Tips:
How to Plant a Tree
Fashion a Hole
There’s an old gardening saying that says that the key to growing a great plant is to put a 50-cent specimen in a $5 hole. This is tried and true. Get your money’s worth by planting your trees correctly.
Having researched and chosen the best tree to plant in your yard, it’s time to get it in the ground. Digging a correctly sized planting hole is key to setting your new tree up for success, but a few other factors come into play as well, such as timing.
First, fashion a hole that is two to three times wider than the root ball of your tree. Dig down to a depth that is roughly the same as the root ball. This way when it is placed within the hole, the tree will remain at the same level as it was in its container.
Backfill Soil into the Hole
Add the soil that you dug out of the hole, placing it evenly around the root ball while lightly packing down the soil as you go. Check the trunk frequently to make sure that it’s straight. Use any leftover soil taken from the hole to form a berm to create a watering well.
It’s also been said that you should amend backfill with compost or other organic matter, but this may not be necessary. Several studies have shown that this practice produces little benefit so long as the starting soil is of decent quality. With this, many experts no longer recommend this practice. Similarly, fertilizer offers little benefit at planting time, and can even be harmful! Loose soil is by far the most important aspect when planting a tree. This is so that new roots can easily grow and become well established. That’s why such a wide planting hole is essential.
Watering a Newly Planted Tree
Right after planting your new tree, water it, and keep the soil around it moist for several weeks afterward. By this time, the roots will have begun growing into the surrounding soil, and you can begin gradually reducing the frequency of watering.
A 2-3” layer of mulch around the base of the tree helps protect them from mower blades, prevents the soil from drying out as quickly, and helps keep weeds at bay. However, mounding it up like a volcano around your tree traps moisture against the trunk, which causes rot. Plus, when mulch is too deep, it stops the tree’s roots from receiving the oxygen they need.