There’s an old saying that I use when people ask me when to plant trees. It says that the best time to do so is 20 years ago, but the second best time is right now. Actually, you can plant trees any time of year but I recommend doing so in the fall or early spring as conditions during both seasons are quite favorable.

Tree Bark
Here are just a few dos and don’ts to help choose and plant the right tree for your landscaping:

DO …

think about the mature size of the tree. Ask yourself, “When it is fully grown, will this tree fit in the space I’m hoping to fill?”

DO …

think about what kind of debris the tree might produce such as excessive twigs, fruit or flowers. Will the debris cause problems for a patio or driveway? Will it attract animals such as squirrels that you’d rather not have in your yard? If so, choose a different tree.

DO …

have your utilities marked before you plant a tree. You can dial 811 to request this and it will usually take about 4 days so be sure to plan ahead.

DO …

consult a landscape designer to help you determine what type of tree is best for your goals. (At Carex Design Group, we offer hourly consultations that would be perfect for you if you need just an hour or two of our time and expertise.)

DO …

prepare the soil appropriately before planting your new tree. It’s good to leave some of the clay soil to help retain water but you should also add nutrients by supplementing the soil with organic matter such peat moss, hummus and manure.

DO …

plan to water your new tree regularly after it has been planted. In the spring and summer, you’ll probably need to water 3-4 times each week. In the fall, you can get away with watering only 1-2 times per week. Deep, slow watering is best for new trees. If you plant the tree in the winter, you probably won’t need to worry about watering until the weather breaks in the spring.

DON’T …

plant trees too close to one another. Trees shouldn’t grow to crisscross branches of neighboring trees. When evergreen trees are planted too close to one another, you invite issues with pests and disease, and will see some parts of the trees die as a result of not getting enough sunlight.

DON’T …

plant trees too close to your home. The general rule for trees near the home is that at maturity, the tree branches shouldn’t be touching the house in any way.

DON’T …

plant trees too deep. It’s ok to have a few inches of the root ball above ground because the surface roots need oxygen to thrive. Check out this post to learn about how to plant you tree.

DON’T …

plant trees under power lines. Even smaller species can be butchered by utility companies who are rightfully looking to protect the power lines. Even if you think the tree is small enough, don’t risk it — nothing looks worse than a tree trimmed by a power company.

DON’T …

prune the tree right after you plant it. Wait until after it has put on new growth that has hardened off. This will generally happen after about a year of the tree being in the ground.

DON’T …

handle the tree by the trunk when you’re planting it. When a tree is young, it doesn’t have as strong of a connection to its roots so it could be fairly easy to break off the trunk from root ball which will certainly kill it. The bigger the tree, the more assistance you’ll need either from more hands or mechanical equipment.

If you need help selecting or planting a new tree, fill out our contact form or call us at 865-765-5550. You can also check out our Pinterest board on our favorite trees.

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