When planting a tree, remember Right Tree, Right Place. Factor in decades of growth when you site your tree. Imagine its mature width and height.
Space for Roots
When actually planting, you need to be sure that the tree’s roots have enough space. Contrary to what many believe, the bulk of tree roots grow in a wide shallow circle about a foot deep, radiating out to what is known as the drip line of its farthest branches. The roots need to be near the surface to get oxygen and water.
Tree trunks flare and widen where they engage with the earth. Trees thrive only when their trunk flares are properly aligned with the ground. Many a healthy tree has been slowly killed because its flare is buried, causing its roots to be too deep to get sufficient oxygen and water.
Make sure your newly planted tree stands up straight! Tree stakes can help ensure they stay anchored for the first year. Be sure to remove the stakes and any supports in a timely fashion.
Young trees need a regular supply of water. For the first three years, trees need about 20 gallons a week. A tree’s water bag, once filled, will allow for water to slowly seep out of the bottom through tiny holes anywhere from 5 to 12 hours after the bag is filled.
Mulching helps preserve moisture and decomposes to enrich the soil. But mulch should not engulf the tree trunk – it can introduce infection or bugs.
This photo shows how typical over-mulching can expose the tree’s trunk to infections and pests.