New Garden Beds

The garden is stripped of sod, the soil is hilled, the weeds are removed, the edging is complete and the rock is positioned. We are ready to purchase plants and begin designing the bed. For this particular garden I decided to plant two Junipers. The rock has a flat side, which is exposed at the back, and this is ideal for trees. They will act as a backdrop for the rock and add height to this section of the property.

Trees are a permanent feature and it is essential to find out how large they will grow in order to plant properly. In most cases trees are not straight in the containers. Take a look at the Junipers I purchased in the container then observe how they look in the ground.

Planting Trees Planting Trees

The containers clearly indicate the obvious slant to the specimen. This is easily corrected by proper planting techniques. The planting of a tree is of fundamental importance, since it determines its whole future. A badly planted tree cannot grow properly or develop to its full potential. We will go through the proper steps for planting a tree. The first precaution to take is to ensure that tree roots are not exposed before planting. This means you prepare the site while the tree remains in the container. The best time to plant is morning or evening thus reducing the chance of root damage due to the burning effect of the sun.

You will require a spade, wheelbarrow or buckets for earth, good topsoil and bonemeal. Dig a hole slightly larger than the container. Before removing the tree from the container place in the hole and make certain the correct depth and width are obtained. When the area is deep and wide enough you can add topsoil and bonemeal. It is time to remove the tree from the plastic container. The best way to loosen the specimen is to place the plant horizontally on the ground and step on the edges thus loosening the roots from the container. Stand the tree upright and carefully lift from container. Place immediately into prepared hole. Add more topsoil and bonemeal. Make sure the tree's original planting depth is flush with the surface of the ground. By this I mean don't plant too deep or too shallow.

While adding soil it is paramount that you plant the tree straight. This is an easy procedure. While replacing the soil stop about two-thirds of the way and walk around the perimeter of the tree stomping with your shoe or boot. This will set the roots and begin the straightening process. Add more soil and when you feel you are near the surface level repeat this procedure. Add more soil and once again circle the perimeter leaning your body inward while stomping the soil. Take a look at the tree and if it seems to be leaning to one side then you must stomp the other side. For me this is an important procedure and I take painstaking efforts to plant as straight as possible. Another tip is to look at the tree from all angles and be certain you are satisfied with the positioning. It may look level from one angle but slightly bent from another. Take your time and walk around the tree checking for accuracy and when all sides look straight your task of proper planting is almost complete.

Planting Trees Planting Trees

The next step involves watering. Use a watering can; sprinkler or a hand held sprayer attached to a hose. Water the tree well but do not use excessive force. A light sprinkling effect is desirable and usually I turn the sprinkler on for about ten minutes or use the hand held sprayer and water thoroughly. Some people suggest watering the roots of the tree while in the ground or before planting but I have seen this procedure performed with little success. When I plant a tree the container is dry and the ground is dry. You can kill a tree by overwatering just as easily as you can by underwatering. My trees are given a generous supply of water after they are properly planted. The nutrients are in the ground, the root ball has been protected, the depth is correct and now it is time to monitor the growth and keep a steady supply of water. My best advice is to water every day for the first two weeks. I have followed this procedure with every new plant and the success rate is phenomenal. A nurseryman advised me of this technique some years ago and I found the information invaluable.

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