How To Plant A Tree Step by Step
Planting trees in the backyard is an excellent way to add beauty, shade and privacy to your home. If you’re not sure how to plant a tree, no need to worry. This article shows you the best way to plant a tree with practical tree planting tips.
Why Plant A Tree?
Here’s why you should invest time and money into planting trees in your backyard:
Benefit #1: Trees Create Shade
Strategically planted trees provide inviting and cool shaded areas to protect your home from the heat of the summer sun and cold winds in winter. Ultimately, this means you’ll spend less money on your electricity bill to heat and cool your home.
Benefit #2: Trees Increase Your Curb Appeal
Trees enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home to visitors. Property buyers are willing to spend more to purchase a home with multiple trees, compared to a home with few or no trees. In fact, mature trees in a well-landscaped backyard can increase a house’s value by almost 20 per cent.
Benefit #3: Trees Offer Environmental Benefits
Did you know that planting a tree is one of the easiest, most powerful things you can do to help the environment in the fight against climate change? Through photosynthesis, trees remove harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, trapping the carbon in leaves and bark, and releasing oxygen back into the air. A single tree may absorb up to 4 kilograms of polluted air each year and releases as much as 120 kilograms of oxygen.
Benefit #4: Trees Attract Birds
Trees provide the perfect food and shelter for birds. Hang a bird feeder in one of the branches and enjoy birds nesting in your tree throughout the year.
Benefit #5: Trees Prevent Erosion
Trees prevent soil erosion and water runoff during storms and rain.
Benefit #6: Trees Save Water
Tree shade can slow water evaporation in your garden, keeping it moist.
Benefit #7: Trees Improve Your Mental Wellbeing
Living in a space where trees are plentiful will bolster your health. Research shows that viewing lush greenery in an urban area can help reduce stress, anxiety and even reduce mental fatigue.
How To Plant A Tree Step by Step
Giving your new tree a healthy start will help ensure your tree reaches its full size. Here’s how to plant your tree, step by step:
Step #1: Prepare The Tree
- Before you plant the tree, fill a large bucket (wider than the width of your new tree) with water and liquid seaweed fertiliser. Cytokinins in the liquid seaweed fertiliser will help the tree to avoid transplant shock and speed root growth.
- Submerge your tree’s root ball until it’s fully saturated.
- Gently tap the sides of the container your tree is inside and carefully remove the tree.
- Shave off matted roots on the sides and bottom of the root ball with a spade or knife to prevent root girdling. Remove any damaged roots and branches.
Step #2: Dig A Hole
- First, prepare a planting hole two to three times as wide as the root ball of your tree. This hole should be deep enough to cover the roots.
- To allow good root penetration, rough up the sides and bottom of the hole.
Step #3: Decant
- Handle the root ball carefully to keep the roots intact as you place it in the hole. Root disturbance will shock the plant.
- Ensure the root ball remains moist as it lowers into the ground, as a dry root ball may reject water from the surrounding soil.
- Once the tree is planted, turn it so the best side of the tree is facing the direction you want.
Step #4: Condition The Soil
- Turn over and loosen the soil.
- Add compost to the existing soil to help with new and fresh root growth.
Step #5: Improve The Drainage
- Without proper drainage, a tree will slowly die from lack of oxygen and nutrients.
Waterlogged soils prevent aeration of plant roots and create vulnerability to diseases like root rot.
- Before planting a tree, evaluate the planting site by performing a percolation test.
- Percolation describes how quickly water drains through soil. To test percolation, dig two to three holes within the root area of a mature tree and measure the rate of drainage. These holes should measure 45cm to 90cm deep and 15cm to 30cm wide. Fill the holes with water and allow the water to completely drain out before refilling the water to the top. Measure the water level every hour. As a rule of thumb, percolation at the rate of 2.5 to 5cm indicates good drainage.
- If you need to improve the drainage of your soil, add 2 to 5cm of organic matter, such as compost, into the top 10cm to 15cm of soil.
Step #6: Fertilise The Soil
- Use a good fertiliser to help feed the plant, such as a slow-release fertiliser with microbial coating or blood and bone.
- If your soil is clay-based, add some gypsum (calcium sulfate) and well-rotted compost to improve soil structure and drainage.
- If your soil is sandy, add a layer of compost to help hold moisture around the roots.
Step #7: Plant
- Place the tree carefully in the middle of the hole. Check that the root ball surface is slightly higher than the surrounding ground surface. Before backfilling the soil, have someone examine the tree from different angles to confirm it stands straight.
- If the root ball is too low, remove it and backfill the hole it reaches the best planting height.
- Fill the hole gently, but firmly, with soil dug from the hole to cover the roots, mixed with a wetting agent, fertiliser, water crystals and organic matter.
- Pack soil around the base of the root ball to provide stability.
- Fill the rest of the hole, watering periodically and firmly packing the soil to eliminate air pockets that may dry out the tree’s roots.
- Ensure the soil around the plant is firm and leave a slight well at the top so that when it rains, the water catches and soaks indirectly above the roots.
Step #8: Water The Soil
- Water the soil in well, making sure the root ball is well-saturated with a mix of water and liquid seaweed fertiliser.
- This provides extra moisture and nutrients to help stabilise stressed and newly planted trees as they establish themselves within the soil.
Step #9: Mulch
- Spread an 8cm deep layer of organic mulch around the base of your newly planted tree, keeping it far from the trunk of the tree to prevent rot. This will help the soil retain moisture, reduce grass and weed competition, and minimise water loss. We recommend using a premium mulch that slowly breaks down, such as arborist chips.
- Water the tree again to keep the soil moist.
Step #10: Continue Watering
- Water the tree every day for several weeks after planting. By this time, the roots will have started spreading into the surrounding soil.
- From there, you can gradually reduce how often you water the tree.
Tree Health: How To Take Care Of Trees
What Do Trees Need To Survive?
Like humans, trees need consistent water and nutrients to grow healthy and strong. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees convert sunlight into food. If trees lack water, nutrients and sunlight, they may slow their growth or eventually die. Regular mulching with arborist chips and tree fertiliser can help your tree thrive. Add a fresh layer of mulch (no more than 8 centimetres) every year. Tree fertiliser can also be applied once a year.
Tree Pruning Methods
While certain tree pruning methods can be beneficial to a tree, others can be damaging. An arborist is a specialist in formative pruning to help your tree grow stronger and healthier. Trees that do not receive proper maintenance can become diseased or unhealthy. As a result, we recommend that tree pruning should only be undertaken by experts with a thorough understanding of tree biology and tree pruning methods.
If you need professional help to choose a tree or care for your newly planted tree, the experts at Arbor Operations will be happy to help. Contact the team at Arbor Operations today on 1800 652 862 to book a consultation in Brisbane.