Time to Plant Trees

— Written By and last updated by Margaret Green

Trees not only provide beauty in a landscape, but can also reduce energy costs by shading a house and providing shelter from harsh winter winds. They serve as noise buffers, provide homes for wildlife, and make your home a more pleasant place to live. As Fall begins, now is the perfect time to get your new landscape trees and scrubs planted.

In planting a tree, proper selection and planting are critical to ensure long-term survival of your tree. For a list of appropriate trees for North Carolina , go to www.ncstate-plants.net or contact your local Cooperative Extension Center. Understand the trees growth habits, look for a health tree either in a container-grown, balled-and-burlapped, or as a bare-root plants.

Proper planting is critical for the survival of your trees. Dig a hole no deeper than the root ball and two to five times wider than the diameter of the root ball. To encourage root growth away from the root ball, rototill or loosen soil with a shovel several feet around the planting hole.

If planting a balled-and-burlapped tree, either remove the burlap or fold it down into the planting hole. You don’t need to completely remove the wire basket, but do cut it once the tree is in the hole to allow for future root development. Remove all twine and wire from around the base of the truck as it can girdle the stem. Also be sure to remove any nylon strings or straps.

After planting, the trunk flare (where the roots spread out from the base of the tree) should be visible. Do not plant too deeply. Make sure the tree is straight, and then gently fill the planting hole with the original soil that was removed from the hole. When the hole is half-filled with soil, slowly water to remove air pockets. Then finish filling the hole with soil.

Remove all broken, dead or crossing branches; other pruning is not necessary. Stake the tree only when necessary, and remove the supports following the first growing season.

Mulch is very important. Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch evenly around the base of the tree. However, do NOT let the mulch touch the trunk of the tree as this can lead to disease and decay.

When you have finished planting, water the tree thoroughly. Water an area beyond the root ball to encourage root spread. Watering will be necessary for the first year until the root system becomes established. As a general rule, trees need 1 inch of water every 7 to 10 days. Water when natural rainfall does not provide this amount.

A local tree give-away program will be held in 2015 on Saturday, March 21st at the Franklin County Farmers Market Shelter in Louisburg beginning at 9 a.m.… bare root crape myrtles, oaks, river birch, persimmon, pines… will all be given away to the public.

Tree planting guide

by: Martha L . Mobley

Agricultural Extension Agent