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Planting And Growing Shade Trees

Planting and Growing Shade Trees

                A good shade tree in your landscape will add value to your home. If you have a south facing home, it will provide shade for the home and provide beauty and power savings in the summer and in the winter, it allows the sun through to help with the heating. Beside these values, they can be used for a windbreak or privacy screen.

Planting Bareroot Trees – If you are planting a smaller bareroot tree, follow the instructions for bareroot. Basically, you should soak the roots for 24 hours prior to planting using Root & Grow Plant Starter in the water to stimulate the root growth. Then dig the hole so the roots are spread out in all directions. The soil removed to make the hole should be enriched with peat moss or compost to enrich the soil around the newly planted tree. When the hole is half full place 3 to 4 Gro-Max Tablets right next to the root system. They are slow release and will not burn the roots. Then pour a pail full of water in the hole to help remove any air pockets from around the root. Then fill the rest of the hole. After this, follow the directions below on maintenance of newly planted trees.

Spacing the Trees. – You should place shade trees at least 25 to 30 feet or farther from the front of the house. Ornamental trees such as Crabapples or Birch can be planted closer, but large shade trees need room. They should also be planted no closer than 30 feet.

Plant Potted Shade Trees – If you are planting a tree that has been grown in a pot, after getting in the area to be planted, remove it from the pot. Examine the root system to make sure it is not root bound (Lots of roots winding around the pot). If it is, you must remove it from that condition. You can do that by taking a carpet knife or pocket knife and cut into the ball on four sides. It should go at least a couple of inches deep to cut the roots that are on the edge of pot. You can also pull roots on the outside of the pots so they are loose from the soil mass. This encourages the roots to blast out of that root ball. If this is not done, the root system may keep circling the soil mass and in a few years, may girdle the root system and cause the decline of the tree.

When the root ball is out of its root bound condition, dig a hole about one and a half times as large as the container it was grown in. Then place the tree in the hole and use enriched soil that was taken from the hole and place it around the root system. You should also use Gro-Max Fertilizer tablets, at least 5 to 6 for potted trees. These tablets will provide fertility for years to come. Then use water to remove air pockets around the root system. The tree should be planted deep enough to completely cover the root ball by 1 to 2 inches, no deeper. Water a couple times a week for three weeks by letting the hose run to completely saturate the soil and then let it dry out between waterings.

Care of Newly Planted Trees – Watering is important during the establishment period. The roots need a week to become active and so they need to be watered every few days for the first two weeks. After this the roots, will be active and you only need to water once a week if it is hot and dry.

Newly planted trees may need to be staked to help keep them from being blown over by the wind. For small trees place a single stake in the ground on the windward side of the tree. Then a single wire or rope can be placed from the stake to the tree. Place the wire or rope through an old piece of hose so the movement of the wire or rope does not wear the bark away. If the tree is larger, you should use guide wires on three sides of the tree placed about 15 to 20 feet from the trunk of the tree. Drive the stakes into the ground and place the wire on the stake. Then place the wire through an old piece of garden hose and run it around the tree where a branch comes out. The hose protects the bark from being worn off. These supports need only be in place for a year. By then the tree roots should be established.

Because the bark is so thin on young trees, you should “wrap it” for the winter to prevent cracks that can come from bark injury in the winter. It also prevents rodents from eating the bark when other food is not available.

For further information, contact our staff at the garden centers or email us at

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