Consider planting a tree this fall. It’s an act of hope—a long-term investment in beauty and the environment. In most regions, fall is the perfect time to plant because moisture levels and soil temperatures provide optimal conditions for roots to grow deeply and establish a healthy foundation before the first winter freeze. By the time leaves begin to sprout and the world begins to green up, the tree will have a jump start on spring!
1. Select a tree that fits your yard as well as your needs. Consider its mature size, the shade it might cast on existing flowerbeds and any nearby power lines or paved areas its branches and roots may disturb. Before digging, be sure to contact your local utility company to mark gas lines, water pipes or underground cables.
2. Dig a hole as deep as the tree’s root ball and twice as wide. Try excavating soil onto a tarp to protect your lawn throughout the planting process.
3. Mix organic filler into heavy clay or sandy soil, replacing up to one-half the volume of the excavated soil. Slice roots by scoring the sides of the root ball with a shovel, which will encourage new roots to grow.
4. Place your tree in the hole, replace some of the soil, and straighten the tree. Ensure that the trunk flare (where the first roots spread out from the base of the tree) is level with the soil line. Fill the hole, keeping the flare exposed. Add a ring of mounded soil 12 to 18 inches out from the trunk, creating a moat so water can soak into the roots.
5. Mulch with shredded bark, pine straw or some other organic matter, beginning 3-5 inches away from the trunk. Water weekly during the first growing season.
This article is excerpted from Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine. For more information, please visit www.lowes.com.