Fall months offer a great time for tree planting
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2013
– With a good 2013 growing season, fall is a great time to plant trees, said a
University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.
of northern Illinois has seen the decline and loss of ash trees from the
Emerald Ash Borer or from the drought of 2012," said Richard Hentschel. "The
2013 growing season has been good for many plants including trees. The longer
cooler spring with above average moisture has been great. There are many other
species of trees to choose from. This is also that opportunity in our yards to
consider where the new tree will be planted and how big of a tree we want when
it is mature."
location and, plant characteristics have been decided, the decision of planting
the tree yourself or having the tree planted by the nursery must be made.
"How much the
tree weighs is often the deciding factor for a homeowner," Hentschel said.
"Trees can be found in large pots with an artificial soil and weigh far less
than the same tree offered as a balled and burlapped tree."
pointed out that one limitation to a potted tree will be the sizes available.
"If you are looking to replant with a larger caliper tree, then you will most
often go with a balled and burlapped plant," he said.
How you plant
the tree once it has been delivered or brought home with you will make a big
difference on how quickly it recovers and its long-term health. "The challenge
will be making sure the pot or ball is planted at the right depth in your
yard," he said.
how the tree sits in the pot or what it looks like being balled and burlap,
there is a critical spot on the trunk that should be found before digging the
hole. This is the flare area where the trunk begins to turn into the root
trees, this flare is more readily apparent. On smaller trees, you will have to
clear away the soil in the pot or the top of the ball to be sure you know where
this flare is. Even on a larger balled and burlapped tree the flare can be
below the top of the ball. What research has shown us is that a tree planted
too deep is slow to recover from being transplanted and has more problems in
the future with insects and disease," Hentschel noted.
Once you have
determined where the flare is, the hole should be dug so the flare will be at
the soil line or even an inch or two above that. "If you do not have great
drainage, then above the soil line is suggested. Roots will naturally grow down
into the soil profile to a depth where they find a balance of soil moisture and
air for quickest transplant recovery and long-term growth," he said.
Once you are
ready to set the tree in the planting hole, there are a few more things that
can ensure that the tree will establish easily. For a tree that has been grown
in a pot, there will be some roots that have found the edge of the pot and are
now circling. These roots need to be bent outward as you backfill the
cannot be bent out, pruning them away is the alternative," he said. "Any new
roots that grow from the cut will grow out normally."
and burlapped plants and those with a wire basket, Hentschel recommends a
ball is in the planting hole, removing some of the basket and burlap and twine
is needed," he explained. "Burlap and twine may not be entirely natural and rot
away as in the past. Twine will need to be removed from around the base of the
trunk and burlap down over the sides of the ball as far as possible.
He added that
the wire basket should also be removed down over the shoulder of the ball,
leaving room for the expanding roots to develop. "You can use the remaining
portions of the wire basket to tie more twine up and over the ball, just not
around the trunk in order to help stabilize the tree in the new hole," he said.
steps will be to backfill with the soil about two-thirds up, then water to
settle the soil around the root ball. Finish backfilling and water to settle
that soil as well. "With any remaining soil, you can create a berm for watering
the rest of the fall. The berm will retain the water and keep it where the
roots are, right in the area of the ball or pot," Hentschel said.
water right up until about mid-November to be sure the newly planted trees have
ample water," he noted. "Before freezing temperatures get here, cut a couple of
spots out of the watering berm so it will not stand water and harm the tree
Source: Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator, Horticulture, email@example.com