The Right Way to Plant Trees and Shrubs
Where is there enough space for a tree, and how about the spot where shrubs will thrive? Avoid buying the wrong plant by mapping out your yard and bringing photos along to the nursery. That’s the way to benefit most from the experts and suss out the right sorts of greenery for your particular layout.
To create a lasting design element, it’s essential to know how tree varieties grow and just how high and wide they’ll be at maturity. That’s the only way to ensure correct distances from neighboring buildings, boundary lines, and other plantings. It’s also important to consider the new plant’s requirements for water, sunlight, and soil composition. This is particularly true since, as a general rule, a tree will spread as much underground as it does above.
Nurseries offer a huge assortment of woody plants: evergreen and deciduous, those that bloom at different times of year, those that boast peculiar bark or growth patterns. There’s no lack of choice, and yet there is a reasonably small set of trees that will do well in almost any yard. To showcase your yard’s individuality, you should combine these versatile varieties with at least one additional plant that’s not so common.
A Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) has pink-white blossoms in June, a red maple colors orange to scarlet-red in autumn and makes for a great smaller tree for the yard, or try the ginkgo with its fall hues of bright yellow, a tree that’s neither deciduous nor evergreen but rather a member of its own botanical family, “Ginkgoales” – it pays to take time and discover the full variety.
Dig, plant, water
Since most woody plants are sold in containers, it is possible, in principle, to plant out new ones any season of the year, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. Dig a hole that’s twice as wide and a little deeper than the root ball. Cover the bottom with fresh potting soil and mix more into the earth you’ve dug out.
Now you ready to place the tree or shrub and fill in the hole with soil. The plant should not sit too deep in the soil. For fruit trees, in particular, it’s important that the grafting point remain visible. Tamp down the soil with your feet and form a ring, raised an inch or so, around the new planting. This will make watering easier. Now, in spring, newly planted trees and shrubs need more water than at other times and should therefore be given an intensive first watering and, thereafter, enough water to stay consistently moist.
Trees grow better when they’re staked for their first three years. This stake should be secured in the ground in a position where the young tree won’t knock against it in a high wind. There are specially made materials for fastening the stake to the trunk, ones that won’t cause damage, such as soft coconut fiber.