Friday, August 16, 2019

Planting Trees For Life

"A Society Grows Great When Old Men Plant Trees in Whose Shade They Know They Will Never Sit."

Planting trees combines both art and science. Current research has made planting trees a lot less labor intensive than in the past. When I first started gardening we were instructed to dig holes that were 4 times the width of the container and two times the depth. If the tree was fairly mature, this could mean digging several feet deep.

Universities across the country have adopted the simpler guidelines listed below:
  • Dig a hole 2 times the width of the rootball and exactly the depth of the rootball.
  • Do not amend the planting hole. Plant in the same soil that you removed while digging the hole. Make sure to orient the tree in the same direction it was reared in.
  • Water in the new tree – do not stomp or tamp the soil heavily. Use the water to 'close' the largest air gaps in the new planting.
  • Make sure that there is a well for the watering, but do not allow the water to collect around the trunk of the tree. This can invite diseases, particularly on newly planted trees.
  • Do not fertilize the newly planted tree; instead layer on some compost leaving a 2" clearing around the trunk. Place irrigation or watering lines on top of the compost.
  • Mulch around the tree well, again leaving at least a 2" clearing around the trunk.

Watering and fertilizing protocols differ based upon your choice of tree, your micro-climate and soil type. Check with your local County Cooperative Extension for detailed information for your area.

One product that can be added to the holes you dig for the new or transplanted tree is Root Build 240 (with a few exceptions). It is a blend of mycorrhizae - beneficial fungi that form symbiotic relationships with the root of plants. These fantastic fungi greatly expand the surface area of the root system helping to increase the plant's nutrient and water absorption with the secondary benefit of reducing transplant shock.

As always, reach out with your garden and pest questions!

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