Hoe, Hoe, Hoe…tis the season for planting new trees and shrubs. I think spring has actually “sprung” – No Joke!! Despite the short-lived start to spring in April and early May, the warm and sunny days are here at last. Signs of new life are growing and blooming all around us.
This welcome sight of spring is a perfect time for me to share my thoughts about the importance of properly planting trees and shrubs. Here at ArborTech, we kicked off our planting season with our Arbor Day of Service project at a local pre-school. We donated seedlings and gave a brief presentation. I found it inspiring to see the importance of trees through the children’s eyes and I think we can all agree that important “things” need to be done right.
Alex Shigo, known in the trade as the “Father of Modern Arboriculture”, compiled a list of Tree Planting Myths that are useful to share (and paraphrased) here:
Tree Planting Myth #1: Anybody can plant a tree correctly.
FALSE: There is more to planting a tree or shrub than just digging a hole and watering. The size of the tree, the conditions of the soil, etc are just a few of the things to consider before selecting a tree and planting it. Certified Arborists have studied the various planting techniques and know how to select the right tree or shrub for your landscape to avoid the problems that arise when trees are planted incorrectly.
Tree Planting Myth #2: Plant deep and the roots will grow deep.
FALSE: Roots need oxygen When they are buried too deep, they will grow upward, often in weird directions and girdling (a.k.a. choking) the trunk. Unfortunately, many (f not most) trees and shrubs are already too deep in a container or ball and burlap when you buy them from a nursery. It's an industry wide problem that continues to be problematic for the survival of our urban landscape. But, that's another blog.
Tree Planting Myth #3: Prune branches before planting to balance the crown with the roots.
FALSE: No live limbs should be removed before planting unless they are damaged. Once planted, the tree needs to settle into its new environment and it takes energy to make a new home. If we remove live limbs, we are taking away (or at least minimizing) the trees food-making ability.
Tree Planting Myth #4: You should brace or stake the tree after planting.
FALSE: Most trees do not need bracing after planting. If you must brace a tree, for mechanical purposes, make sure the trunk can sway and move. This allows the tree to become sturdy and strong. There's a saying "Whatever doesn't bend, breaks". This is true in life and for trees.
Tree Planting Myth #5: Lots of mulch is good.
FALSE: Excessive amounts of mulch will kill your tree. Mulch is absolutely beneficial, BUT too much is detrimental. Apply 3-4" of mulch; don't "volcano" it. Keep the mulch at least 6" away from the trunk to reduce infection by pathogens and injury from rodents.
Trees are important and need to be planted, but they need to be planted properly.
ArborTech hired two Certified Arborists to assist their customers with planting trees and shrubs. Our Arborists will select, deliver and install your trees and shrubs. We also offer pruning and deep-root fertilizing to assist you with caring for your trees and shrubs as they mature. Don't hesitate to give us a call.