How to Plant Trees and Shrubs

Increase your home’s value and help out Mother Nature by planting trees and shrubs this fall!

 

Planting trees and shrubs in your yard is so much more than just an investment into your home. While it increases property value, trees and shrubs also give back to the environment—they remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from the air and provide us with fresh oxygen. Plus, trees and shrubs around your home can offer food and shelter to wildlife all year round.

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs because the temperatures are milder. In the warm summer months, the soil can get hot enough to shock new roots, but the crisp fall air cools it to just the right temperature. Plus, planting now will give the trees and shrubs time to develop strong roots before winter. Use this guide to learn how to plant trees and shrubs in your landscape!

 

Select a Shrub or Tree, and Choose a Location

Different trees and shrubs have different light and water requirements, so make sure to follow the nursery tag directions or ask us if you need some guidance. Besides knowing what the tree needs, you also have to consider the look you want in terms of placement. For example, perhaps you want more shade in a specific area, or maybe you’re looking to complement a small space. Where you plant is a big decision; shrubs and trees are long-term additions to your landscape! 

After you bring home your new tree or shrub, keep the root ball moist, and keep the plant in a shaded spot before you transplant it. Trees and shrubs are watered daily in our nursery until they go home with you. 

 

new shrub root systemInspect Roots, and Prep the Hole

Inspect and feel around the root ball while looking for and removing any soft spots, which indicate rot. You also might notice that the tree or shrub is a bit rootbound. If so, loosen the roots around the sides of the ball and tease them out. This will encourage new root growth rather than having the roots stay tightly packed together.

Now that your root ball is ready to go, dig a hole about as deep as the root ball, but approximately two to three times as wide. Wallaces recommends a soil amendment like Compost or Garden Soil to mix with the native soil that you dig out of the hole.   Mix about ⅓ compost with ⅔ native soil to use as backfill. 

 

Plant the Tree or Shrub

After placing the tree or shrub in the hole, fill it in with soil as someone else holds it straight. Once you get about halfway through backfilling, begin firmly packing the soil as you finish filling the hole. This will reduce air pockets near the roots. You can also periodically water the soil as you backfill to help limit air pockets. After the hole is backfilled, smooth out the soil on top. 

 

newly planted tree stakedStake and Add Mulch

You may need to stake tall newly planted trees if you know your tree or shrub is in a windy area. Adding a several-inch-thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree—but not touching the trunk, which can lead to rot—is also important to protect the roots through the winter.

Mulch helps insulate the roots, maintain moisture, and regulate soil temperature. Plus, come spring, mulch makes sure the roots of your trees and shrubs thaw slowly and steadily. Mulch also serves as natural weed control around your landscape.

 

Water Carefully

For the first couple of weeks, water your new trees and shrubs 2-3 times per week or every other day if it is very hot. Though, if there’s a day of heavy rain, you can give your watering can or soaker hose a break. After that, water twice per week, then until the ground freezes. Be generous and water deeply, ensuring the roots get the moisture they need.

 

If you plant your trees and shrubs correctly using these tips, they will perform well for years and years to come. A bit of extra care now pays off in the long run!

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