Planting a Tree
Planting a tree is a lifelong investment. How well this investment grows depends on the type of tree selected and the planting location, the care provided during planting, and the follow-up care after planting. Getting your new tree off to a healthy start will help the tree mature to its full size and ensures it will provide environmental, economic, and social benefits throughout its lifetime.
Learn more about planting a new tree
When to Plant
Ideally, trees are planted during the dormant season – in the fall after leaf drop or in early spring before budbreak. Weather conditions are cool and allow plants to establish roots in the new location before spring rains and summer heat stimulate new top growth. Healthy balled and burlapped or container trees, however, can be planted throughout the growing season if given appropriate care. In tropical and subtropical climates where trees grow year round, any time is a good time to plant a tree, provided that sufficient water is available.
Balled and burlapped trees lose a significant portion of their root system when dug at the nursery. As a result, trees commonly exhibit what is known as “transplant shock.” Transplant shock is a state of slowed growth and reduced vitality following transplanting. Container trees may also experience transplant shock, particularly if they have circling or kinked roots that must be cut. Proper site preparation, careful handling to prevent further root damage, and good follow-up care reduces transplant shock and promotes faster recovery.
Steps for Planting
Right Tree – Right Place
Planning before planting can help ensure that the right tree is planted in the right place. Proper tree selection and placement enhance your property value and prevent costly maintenance trimming and damage to your home. If you have any more questions, please contact your local ISA Certified Arborist or tree care professional, utility company, local nursery, or county extension office.
Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. Mulching is one of the most beneficial acts a homeowner can do for the health of a tree. However, improper mulching materials and practices may have little, or even negative, impact on the trees in your landscape.
Learn more about proper mulching techniques
Avoiding Tree and Utility Conflicts
Determining where to plant a tree is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Many factors should be considered prior to planting. When planning what type of tree to plant, remember to look up and look down to determine where the tree will be located in relation to overhead and underground utility lines.
Learn more about planting trees near utilities
Overhead utility lines are easy to spot, yet often overlooked. Planting tall-growing trees under or near these lines eventually requires your utility provider to prune them to maintain safe clearance from the wires. This pruning may result in the tree having an unnatural appearance. Periodic pruning can also lead to a shortened life span for the tree.
Tall-growing trees near overhead lines can cause service interruptions when trees contact wires. Children or adults climbing in these trees can be severely injured or even killed if they come in contact with the wires. Proper selection and placement of trees in and around overhead utilities can eliminate potential public safety hazards, reduce expenses for utilities and their customers, and improve landscape appearance.
Trees consist of much more than what you see above ground. Many times, the root area below ground is larger than the branch spread. Many of the utility services provided today run below ground. Tree roots and underground lines often coexist without problems. However, trees planted near underground lines could have their roots damaged if the lines are dug up for repair.
The greatest danger to underground lines occurs during planting. Before you plant, make sure that you are aware of the location of any underground utilities. To be certain that you do not accidentally dig into any lines and risk serious injury or a costly service interruption, call your utility company or utility locator service first. Never assume that these utility lines are buried deeper than you plan to dig.