Trees are the integral part of our environment and also the main contributor to the natural aesthetic beauty and serenity. They must be planted in a large numbers to maintain the balance of nature and proper planting of trees involve a lot more than just digging some mud and placing the plant. Certain key points must be taken care of during planting trees to provide a better and healthy life to the tree.
Selecting the proper time and season
Late spring or summer should be avoided as the heat stress may be detrimental to the plant. Fall (after leaf fall) or early spring (before bud break) is considered as the best time to plant trees.
Requirements for the hole
The hole is required to be 2-3 times the size of the root ball. The depth should be same as of the root ball. The extra space is required for the outward growth of the root in the soil. The holes should be high in center, almost – inches and deeper outside, thus avoiding any water accumulation and further root damage. The mud in the hole is advised to loosen by a shovel for better results.
Preparation of the tree for planting
Small trees can be easily turned upside down to get it out of the pot. In case of larger trees, maximum possible dirt should be kept around the root. More movement should be avoided as the more air gets in contact with the roots the more it gets dried up.
Positioning the tree
The tree must be gently placed in the hole by holding the root ball. The crown must not get covered by the soil and should be of the same level as of the soil. The root should be completely covered with soil. Soil should be added, few inches at a time in the hole and subsequently watered to avoid formation of air pockets.
Use of compost
In the absence of properly enriched soil, compost or composted manure may be added. Three quarters of the hole should be filled with dirt and the remaining quarter with compost/manure. An organic mixture including micorrhizae (bacteria) is highly recommended as it enhances the uptake of soil nutrients. Commercial fertilizers should be avoided as they are not good for the long term health of the tree.
Watering of the tree
The tree needs to be watered within an hour of its planting. Proper watering is essential for the proper health of the tree. Almost one gallon of water is necessary for every six inches of the tree height.
Mulch is a mixture of rotten leaves, bark, pine needles or, wooden chips. The hole is covered with mulch which acts as a blanket to protect moisture. But, the mulch must be kept at least 2-3 inches away from the trunk otherwise, it may damage the trunk.
Proper staking of the tree
The stakes protect the tree from severe blows of the wind. During the first year of the tree, the stakes may be loosely bound to the trunk. These must not be dug in the bark or bound tightly to the trunk or, the tree may be damaged.
The above discussed were the preliminary guidelines. As the tree grows, for the first few years, depending on the climate of the area, weekly watering is required until the strong roots are established. Deep watering will promote deeper roots. Minor pruning of damaged branches is advised during the growth of the tree.