There are many questions you should ask yourself when you are planting your new tree, like, how is my soil? How deep should I plant this tree? Should I use a stake to support this tree? How big should I dig the hole? How much water should I give this tree? All of these questions should be and are frequently asked. They all have a very simple answer.
Planting a New Tree – Know Your Soil
First, you really need to check your soil. Chances are if you live in Boise you have very hard, compact clay soil. The best thing to help amend clay soil is compost. Compost is all organic material, very rich in nutrients that will benefit the plants. It will help improve soil drainage by adding some air space. One thing you never want to add to the soil is sand. When sand mixes with the clay soil, it creates a concrete mixture that will not allow your soil to drain at all. Also, you want to be careful with peat moss. Peat moss is excellent if you are trying to grow blueberries, azaleas, or rhododendrons. These plants all like more of an acidic soil which peat moss will add. Otherwise, peat moss is designed to retain moister and our clay soils do just fine holding water.
Digging the Hole
The second thing you need to look at is how big should you dig the hole for your new tree. The hole should be about one and a half times as wide as the pot is that you bought it in, but just as deep as the pot. You will really want to watch the depth when you start digging because if you dig it too deep, then backfill, the tree could settle in the soft dirt. When all is said and done, your tree will be too deep.
The third thing you need to think about is how deep you should plant the tree. Tree roots need oxygen just like the rest of the tree. If it is planted too deep, the tree could suffocate. You want to make sure that you plant the tree at exactly the same depth as it sat in the pot. If you are going to put down two or more inches of bark, you may want to plant the tree a little higher because that extra bark could retain too much moisture and drown it.
Stake or No Stake
Next, you need to decide if this tree needs to be staked. The majority of the time, trees do not need any extra support. If you are planting a balled in burlap tree, I would not use a stake because there is enough of a root ball to hold that tree upright in the ground. Some of the trees that come in a five to ten-gallon pots could use some extra support just to get it to grow straight. You need to be very careful in how you use the stake. You never want to put the stake right up against the trunk of the tree because the tree needs to be able to sway in order for it to build up strength in the trunk. The stakes need to be placed about two feet away from the trunk on two sides of the tree and attached with a stretch tape or something that will flex with the wind.
Planting a New Tree – Watering
The final thing to consider when planting a new tree is watering. Chances are that your new tree may be dried out. It needs to be watered thoroughly. If you are not going to plant the tree immediately, you will need to water it daily while it sits in the pot. Once your new tree is in the ground, you will want to water about three times a week with the hose on a slow trickle making sure that the water soaks clear down to the bottom of the roots. If you start to see some discoloration in the leaves it could be a sign of over watering. Dig down and check. You will want the soil to be as moist as a washcloth. A washcloth that is wet but you can’t ring the water out. A lot of trees might show some signs of stress after being transplanted. A good way to prevent this is to water them in with Zamzows Thrive. Thrive has all of the micronutrients that a newly planted tree will need in order to deal with all stress from transplanting.
By taking your time and answering all of these questions you should have no problem planting your new tree. The one concern stress the most is watering. Over watering is the leading cause of young trees death. Just remember they to need to breathe and can’t if they are under water.