How to Plant Trees and Shrubs
One great way to increase the value of your home is through landscaping. Planting trees and shrubs early is critical, as they take anywhere from five to seven years for them to mature. But these plants, if cultivated carefully, can get you a 100% or more return on your investment.
This is a good thing, since the ongoing supply chain crisis has put pressure on plant nurseries, growers, and wholesalers to keep up with demand. Currently, shrubs in the 7-gallon and under range are highly sought after even though there is a major shortage, causing prices to skyrocket. Even in the best of times, healthy trees and shrubs are not cheap, so homeowners should take care to plant them in a way that ensures they will survive and thrive.
Not only do you need to understand how to plant trees and shrubs correctly, but you must know where to plant them. Planting the wrong shrub or tree in the wrong place can cause damage to homes or driveways. The wrong spot can also damage plant limbs and inhibit root growth. This article will provide basic planning — and planting — requirements to help you make the most of your green investment.
Where to Place Your Trees and Shrubs
Large landscape plants such as trees and shrubs bring not only value, but livability, to your home’s landscape. As they grow and change through the season, they bring perennial interest and, if planted in the proper places, they can fulfil practical needs as well. When considering what type of tree to plant, here are some things to consider:
Many trees are planted for shade and to increase energy savings in your home. Typically, homeowners place shade trees on southwest corners to cool the house during the summer heat. However, you must consider the mature tree size when planting. For example, a 50-foot-high tree with a crown of 30 feet will cast a 50-foot shadow in late afternoon, around 3 or 4 p.m. In the winter, this shadow will be 120 feet in length at the same time of day. To be practical, consider planting the tree at least 20 feet from the house. Smaller trees can be planted closer, but you should keep larger ones at a distance so tree limbs and roots will not cause damage to the home.
Another way to place trees and shrubs is to use them to screen unsightly areas from view. Not only can such screening provide you with privacy, but they can also act as a sound barrier. Consider evergreens for a year-round screen. Plant living screens with care to avoid a stiff appearance unless your home is very formal. Instead of straight lines, consider staggering the planting or composing the screen using a variety of small-to-medium-sized shrubs and trees for best aesthetic effect.
Adding trees in the backyard to frame the home is a great way to increase your home’s value and add to the natural beauty of your yard. Since you’ll want to see the treetops over the back of the house, these will need to be trees that mature at a fairly good height. For this reason, consider carefully where you plant them to avoid mature limbs interfering with power lines or any other overhead utilities.
Planting Trees and Shrubs the Right Way
Now that you’ve determined where to place your trees and shrubs, it’s time to learn the right steps in planting to ensure a long, healthy life for your landscape. Here’s a quick primer to help you get started:
Measure the root ball of your plant (that’s the clump of soil that surrounds the roots in the plant pot) and dig a hole as deep as this measurement and twice as wide. After digging, take time to loosen the soil on the sides of the hole, particularly if you have dense or heavy soil. Remove all rocks that you find and make sure not to add them back in when you backfill the hole.
Now, Add Amendments
To give your new tree or shrub the best chance at survival, mix 25% compost, peat moss, or other soil amendments into the pile you’ve created when digging. If you’re lucky enough to have rich, organic soil, you may not need an amendment. However, even heavy soils shouldn’t be amended greater than 25% or it could impair the plants’ ability to adapt to your soil.
Prepare Your Plant
Get your plant ready for its new home by removing it from the pot. Lay the pot on the side and gently ease out the root ball. For rootbound plants, you may have to gently cut or peel away the pot. Now, loosen the shrub or tree roots to encourage them to make their way into your soil by roughing up the edges of the root ball with your hands. If the roots are already loose, you can move on to the next step. If the plant is rootbound, you may have to slice the bottom of the root ball with a knife to tease out the roots.
Set the plant in the hole you’ve created, so the trunk is at, or slightly higher than, the surrounding soil, allowing for settling after watering. Backfill the planting hole with your amended native soil and lightly tamp the soil down. Build up a “ring” of soil at the outer edges of the planting hole to help trap water for irrigation.
Need Help Planting?
With trees and shrubs getting expensive, it is more important than ever to protect your green investment by planting properly. Many times, native soils are incredibly rocky or heavy and hard to dig, so homeowners aren’t able to get the right sized hole to encourage good growth and survival.
At Townsend Arborcare, we have the specialists — and the equipment — to make tree and shrub planting fast, easy, and successful.
Let us take the workload off your hands. Contact a Townsend Arborcare consultant today and get expert help planting your trees and shrubs.
In Indiana call 317-420-8548
In Ohio call 440-578-7249
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