Tips for Tree Planting

  From the May 15, 2017 Issue of Agri-News
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 “Once you have decided what tree and shrub species you would like to plant and have done proper planning, design and site preparation, it is time to start planting,” says Toso Bozic, bioenergy/agroforestry specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Edmonton. “The best time to plant trees or shrubs is early morning, late afternoon or during a cloudy day. Don’t plant trees during the hot noon or afternoon as they will dry up very quickly.”

There are two common methods of planting - manual and mechanical. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages.

“For hand planting, don’t pull the tree out until you have made a hole,” said Bozic. “Create the hole large enough to keep roots straight. Trees should be planted in the same depth as they were planted in the nursery. You may notice changes in colour of the seedlings’ bark close to roots. You will see the soil line which is the depth that you need to plant the trees. Once you have put the tree properly in the hole, put soil around it and step on the soil to make it firm. The easiest way to test is try to gently to pull the trees out - if they come out easily, you have not used enough soil and pressure. Keep seedlings as straight as possible.”

For mechanical planting have the soil prepared prior to planting, says Bozic.

“Regulate the speed of planting by adjusting the speed of the tractor and planter to the time needed for proper planting and spacing. You will need to have somebody go after the tree is planted to make the soil firm around the trees and ensure that the trees are properly planted.”

Once planting is complete, the trees will need to be watered. “Watering can be done with drip irrigation or leaving a small bucket with holes next to the trees. Don’t water too quickly as water will run off and nothing will get to the roots, or it will create surface roots for trees that may die during a drought. The goal is to create trees and shrubs with deep roots that can withstand drought. Check soil moisture regularly by putting a sharp object such as a knife into the soil. Do not water if there is some soil on the knife. If the knife comes out dry, you may water.’

Once the trees are successfully planted, they will still need some attention to protect them from weeds, diseases, animals and insects.

“Weed control is an ongoing process the first few years following planting. There are several methods of weed control including mechanical weed control, herbicides and using various mulches. In any case, without proper weed control, the chance of the trees dying increases. It may require up to five years of controlling weeds until the tree can stand itself. It’s also crucial in the first few years to monitor your trees once a week for any potential damages for insects, diseases and animals.”

Planting trees is a fun activity but also very hard work, adds Bozic. “Involve friends and family members in planting and look forward to a beautiful reward for your hard work in your yard or future forest.”

Toso Bozic

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Toso Bozic.
This document is maintained by Ken Blackley.
This information published to the web on May 4, 2017.