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Tree Planting Time

By Nancy Leighton
Winter is the ideal time to plant new trees when they are dormant. The tree planting season is from mid-November through mid-March, depending on the weather in any given year. The dry weather last November was not good for planting without heavy watering. The wet weather we have been having recently is excellent for hole digging and soil moisture for the new tree roots.
Buying a 3-foot tree will be easier to transport and handle. It may require pruning in a couple of years to encourage proper growth. A 6- to 8-foot tree will grow more quickly, but will require a larger hole for planting and perhaps a pickup truck for transporting.
To plant, dig a hole three times the diameter of the pot or rootball. For easier cleanup lay a plastic sheet or tarp next to the hole to pile up the dirt on. Dig the hole deeper than the pot or rootball in the center. Add a bag of composted manure to the dirt pile on the plastic and a bushel of peat moss and mix it all together. Put some of the mixture into the hole before putting in the new tree and rootball so that the base of the tree and top of the rootball is roughly at ground level. If there is burlap or wire around the rootball, remove it before placing the tree in the hole. Make sure that the tree is straight using the eyeball method or a small level. Rough up the sides of the rootball before filling in the sides with the rest of the dirt mixture, rechecking for verticality as you go. When all of the soil is in place, tamp it down slightly with your foot and water thoroughly. The peat moss in the mixture will act like a sponge to keep moisture around the roots. Water again if it does not rain in the next two or three days. Don’t forget to water in the summer, too. A gallon a day in dry weather can keep a tree alive during the hot, rainless days. When spring returns the next year, the new tree will wake up in its new home and beautify your property for years to come.

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