Plant a tree for suc­cess­ful growth

Springfield Sun - - COM­FORTS OF HOME -

More sun­light and warm tem­per­a­tures fre­quently in­spire home­own­ers to spend more time in the great out­doors dur­ing spring and sum­mer.

Out­door projects of­ten top home­own­ers’ to-do lists in spring and sum­mer, with gar­dens and land­scapes tak­ing cen­ter stage. Plant­ing more trees around the yard is one pop­u­lar project that can im­prove prop­erty value and ben­e­fit the en­vi­ron­ment.

Why plant trees?

There are plenty of rea­sons to plant trees. Trees pro­vide a nat­u­ral form of shade, re­duc­ing air tem­per­a­ture by block­ing the sun’s rays. This can re­duce reliance on air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems and make it more com­fort­able to spend time out­doors dur­ing the sum­mer.

North Carolina State Univer­sity Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture & Life Sciences says trees ab­sorb and block noise and re­duce glare. They also can trap dust, pollen and smoke. Trees also ab­sorb car­bon diox­ide and po­ten­tially harm­ful gasses from the air. One large tree can sup­ply a day’s worth of oxy­gen for as many as four peo­ple, while also stor­ing 13 pounds of car­bon per year.

Get­ting started

Visit a gar­den cen­ter or nurs­ery and se­lect a tree that will be hardy in your plant­ing zone. Choos­ing na­tive trees can in­crease the like­li­hood that the new tree will adapt to its sur­round­ings. Also, in­spect trees to de­ter­mine if they’re healthy be­fore tak­ing them home. Look for ev­i­dence of root girdling, which oc­curs when the roots cir­cle around the perime­ter of the con­tainer and sur­round the trunk. Trees should not have any dead or dor­mant branches.

The DIY Net­work sug­gests lo­cat­ing the tree where it can thrive. This means se­lect­ing a spot that can make it eas­ier for the tree to grow tall and wide. Avoid plant­ing near the house, where roots can crack con­crete or as­phalt, and al­ways plant away from un­der­ground pipes.

Plant­ing the tree

Now it is time to amend the soil. It’s not enough to en­rich only the soil in the hole where the tree will be placed. Move out into a cir­cu­lar area beyond where the roots will start so that roots can ex­pand and prop­erly an­chor the tree. The next method of suc­cess is to en­sure that the tree has a large enough hole to con­tain the ex­ist­ing root ball and al­low for roots to grow and ex­pand. Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens ex­perts say to pre­pare a hole that is two to three times as wide as the root ball of the tree. Treat the root ball gen­tly. If the roots are wrapped in burlap, re­move the burlap or push it to the bottom of the hole.

Back­fill the hole with soil and check that the tree is straight. Stake the tree to help it stay upright and straight un­til the roots an­chor it more ef­fec­tively. A layer of mulch around the base of the tree can pre­vent weeds and re­duce wa­ter loss. Wa­ter daily for sev­eral weeks un­til the roots have fanned out.

It’s best to leave trees be for the first grow­ing sea­son, only re­mov­ing bro­ken or dis­eased limbs. Re­sist prun­ing and shap­ing un­til the tree has sur­vived its first grow­ing sea­son. Ar­ti­cle courtesy of Metro Cre­ative


Learn the right way to plant a tree to im­prove the land­scape and the en­vi­ron­ment.

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