Top Ten Mistakes in Planting Trees

Planting trees is always an exciting time.  You have a great idea as to how they will look once planted on your property and you can envision what they will become as they grow and prosper through the years.  There is also a lot of anxiety associated with planting trees;  Did I do it correctly?  Will the trees live?  What more can I do to make sure the trees thrive.  According to the Nebraska Forest Service, the ten most common mistakes in planting trees are:

1.   Poor selection – Make sure the tree is healthy to begin with.  Take the time to see what is growing well in your area, and chose trees that are more resistant to insects and disease.

2.   An inadequate root system – Healthy roots equal a healthy tree.  Rule of thumb is for every inch of a tree diameter, there should be 10″-12″ of root ball.

3.   Poor planting site Certain soils are not conducive to certain species of trees. Before planting, it is wise to have a soil test done to determine if the tree can grow in the soil and if so, what type of fertilizer might be needed for it.

4.   Pot bound/Girdling Root – Find out if the tree is root bound and how many spiraling roots there are. These can be unhealthy for the tree.

5.   Planting hole is too small – Typically, it is suggested to dig a hole twice the width of the root ball which create soil conditions to aid in the development of new roots.

6.   Tree planted too deep – In most cases, the planting hole should be no deeper than the root ball.

7.   Improperly mulched or not mulched at all – Mulch is critical to establishing a healthy tree as it protects the roots and preserves soil moisture.  However, over mulching can cause an excessive amount of moisture to be trapped and be detrimental to the tree.

8.   Tree not staked – Some say staking can be detrimental but if done correctly, the benefits outweigh the negatives, particularly for long trees and those in high wind areas.

9.   Tree improperly watered – More newly planted trees die from too much water than not enough.

10. Failure to monitor the tree – Don’t just plant and fail to watch the tree.  Regular monitoring reduces the risk for potential problems to become major ones.

To read about each of these in more detail, click here.