If you’ve made the decision to plant a tree on your property, congratulations! You have made one of the best choices that you, as a homeowner, can towards the health and wellbeing of your family. The benefits that trees provide to humans are incalculable. Not only do they provide beauty, shade, and a home for birds and other wildlife, they’ve also been studied to reduce stress and improve the physical health of people who live near them.
With as many benefits as trees provide, everyone should invest in planting a few trees on their property. But how do you go about doing it?
Here is a step-by-step guide:
1. First, consider where you live. Different tree species are suited to different climates. If you live on the Oregon coast, for example, trees like Maple, Holly, Cypress, Pine and Cherry will thrive in your unique conditions. If you are interested in a particular species of tree, do a little research first to discover if it will do well in your climate. You can also consult a local tree service to advise you on which trees survive best in your area.
2. Next, you can actually acquire the tree. There are many tree farms in the Oregon area where you can buy seedlings or saplings. When shopping for trees at a nursery, make sure you inspect them first to ensure they are healthy. Check each part of the tree; investigate the roots to make sure they are moist and fibrous. Make sure the bark is bright and healthy, and the branches have a healthy spacing between each other. Check the leaves to make sure they are also bright and healthy and don’t hesitate to ask questions at the nursery if there is anything you are unsure about.
3. Beginning the process of planting the tree starts with digging a hole. The hole should be at least twice the width of the root ball and about the same depth. You don’t want the roots to end up too deep under ground; they should have a little room to settle and move into the soil.
Planting new trees too deep is the leading killer of new trees, so you’ll want to make sure you are careful when digging. Before you plant the tree, you will need to check the drainage in the hole. You can do this by filling the hole with water and seeing how long it takes the water to drain. If it takes more than a day, the soil is not draining properly and you will need to select another location to plant your tree.
4. Once you have settled on a location for your tree that is appropriate, get your tree ready for planting. If the root ball is in a bag, you should remove the bag and any other material around it. There should not be any materials besides roots and soil that are planted with the tree.
5. Next, you can place your tree into the hole you have prepared. Never move your tree around by its trunk. You should always hold and carry it by the root ball. You will want to set it in the ground with the root collar – the area just above the roots – right at ground level.
6. After placing the tree into the hole you dug, you can refill the hole with soil. It’s essential to use the same soil that you dug out of the hole. It is not necessary to add anything else. Don’t pack the soil too tightly; this can damage the smaller roots and put the health of your tree at risk. Simply place the soil into the hole gently.
7. The next step is mulching. Using a little bit of mulch has a variety of benefits for the tree. It helps retain moisture, maintain the soil temperatures, and prevents the growth of weeds. You’ll want to pile a bit of mulch from a few inches away from the trunk all the way out to the drip line. It’s okay if you go a little bit beyond the drip line as soon enough the roots will extend beyond the drip line themselves. The mulch you place around a tree will need to be replenished at least a couple of times a year to make sure the trees are being properly nourished.
8. If it appears that your tree does not stand up on its own, you may need to stake it. Doing so should be handled with great care as improperly staking a tree can harm it. It is usually best to contact an arborist company such as Vernon tree service to do the staking for you. Generally, you won’t need more than one stake and you will only need to leave it in for a relatively short time, until the roots take hold.
9. While your tree is still young, for the first few years of its life, it will need to be watered regularly. You don’t need to water a tree in the same way you do a houseplant. Rather than a small amount of water regularly, a large amount of water once a week is best for a tree. About six to eight gallons per inch of the trunk’s diameter is usually best. To water the tree properly, you can place a hose at the base and simply let it run. Keep an eye on it and turn the hose off when there’s enough water.
10. As your tree grows, especially when it’s younger, you should always keep a close eye on its health. Keeping the tree healthy involves regular check-ups from a tree service. If you live on the Oregon Coast, we, at Vernon Tree Service, can regularly prune your tree and check it for health and signs of disease or pests as it grows. Preventing your tree from pest infestation or injury is crucial during the early years; once the tree gets older you can make the visits from the arborist less frequently.