Fall is a great time to plant many trees and shrubs in the landscape. Tree and shrub roots are growing more actively with fall rains and cooler temperatures. The weather makes it easier for you to work outside, too. Many trees and shrubs are available for purchase in advance of winter, so now is the time to consider planting shrubs, fruit, flowering and shade trees. Here are some tips on selecting and planting your tree or shrub this fall:
Shopping for Plants: For for trees and shrubs in containers, look for healthy plants with no broken branches or nicks on the trunks. Make sure container plants aren’t rootbound. For trees that are balled and burlapped, rock the tree back and forth. If the tree moves independently of the rootball, then the tree roots may not have penetrated the rootball and the tree may not transplant well into your yard.
The Right Site: Find the right site for your plant, making sure it will have enough room to grow. Look at the ultimate size of the tree and shrub and imagine it in that location in five to ten years. Once you have found a well-drained site with the proper amount of sun, it’s time to plant.
Proper Planting: Dig your hole twice as wide as the rootball of your plant and only as deep as the rootball. Loosen the soil in the bottom lightly and on the sides of the hole. Add 1/3 organic compost, or other similar soil amendment, to 2/3 existing soil. By using 2/3 of the existing soil the roots will grow to the native soil and not stay in the planting hole. Water with Fertilome Root Stimulator as you backfill the hole with soil. Create a low moat around the drip line of the tree or shrub to collect water and mulch. Add 2-3 inches of Pine Bark Mulch to protect from freezing this winter, to moderate soil temperatures next spring, to retain moisture next summer and to keep weed eaters from damaging tree trunks.