I want to thank you for helping reduce our Urban Heat Island by planting a street tree in your yard. This project is my Girl Scout Gold Award and the support has been wonderful. My volunteer team has been a huge help. Sarah Young, www.discovergreenyel.org
HOW TO PLANT YOUR TREE
1. Dig a hole twice as wide as and slightly shallower than the root ball. This puts the aerated backfill soil where the new roots will grow and leaves a base of naturally firm soil for the root ball to rest on, which won't settle when watered.
2. Avoid the clay-pot syndrome. Roughen the sides and bottom of your planting hole with a pick or shovel so that root tips can penetrate the native soil. Smooth walls are like cement to root tips.
3. If your trees is potted, be gentle but firm when removing the container. If it is in a WHITE softsided pot - -cut and peel like a banana. Making sure to protect the foliage, lay the tree on its side with the container end near the planting hole. Hit the bottom and sides of the container until the root ball is loosened.
4. Don't cover the root crown with soil. The crown is the place where the roots end and the trunk begins. Soil here will lead to rot at the base of the trunk. Aim to have the top of the root ball be about 1/2 to 1 inch above the surrounding soil. Check the height of the root crown by laying a straight piece of wood across the top of the hole.
5. Sight it upright! Once the tree is in the hole, stand back and make sure it's standing upright. Tilt the root ball until the tree is straight, then backfill firmly under and around it.
6. Tamp the soil as you backfill. Using the heel of your foot, press down firmly to collapse any large air pockets in the soil. This will help stabilize the tree in the hole. Don't wait until the planting is finished; press down every few shovels of soil. Yes, you can tamp too much;
7. Get it wet! Build a temporary watering basin around the root ball to encourage water penetration. A tree that has a dry root ball can stand in a moist backfill without absorbing water! Fill several times to water deeply. Widen basin to include whole planting area after a month.
8. Mulch till you drop! Cover the entire planting area, except a small circle at the base of the trunk, to a depth of 2 to 4 inches with bark, wood chips, old sawdust, pine needles, leaves, or gravel. Mulch keeps the topsoil temperate for root growth, reduces surface evaporation of water, provides nutrients to feed the tree, and slows weed and grass growth around the tree's base. For plantings along a street or sidewalk, concrete or decomposed granite will act as mulch, but you must allow an open area for air and water exchange.