Spring, the season of new beginnings and now is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. The cooler temperatures allow for great root development before the first flush of leaves as soon as the soil is workable.
• Consider the size of your tree at maturity to allow sufficient distance between the tree and your home. A general rule of thumb is to plant it at least half the distance of mature width of the tree canopy from your house. For example, a tree that will grow to 40' wide should be planted at least 20' away from the house.
• Planting depth is very important. Dig the hole large enough to have the root flare level with the soil surface (approximately 2-3 times wider than the soil ball). To prevent settling, do not disturb the soil in the bottom of the hole.
• For potted trees Remove the tree from its container and pull apart or cut any roots that are circling the soil. Place the tree in the hole, so the upper roots are just above ground level. Backfill and firmly pack soil around the root ball.
• For bare root trees, soak the roots in water for at least an hour but no more than 24 hours prior to planting. Backfill the loosened soil under the ground roots first, packing it firmly. Spread the roots evenly in the hole with the root flare at ground level. Hold the tree straight and fill the remainder of the hole, packing the soil until just about the original grade. There's still time for a preorder discount on a bare root tree. Click here for availability
• For B&B trees, that are sold with roots and soil wrapped in burlap, remove ropes, the top half of the wire basket, exposed burlap, and any soil that is on the top of the root flare. Put 4-5 inches of soil around the root ball and pack around the sides of the root ball to hold the tree in place. Backfill the soil, breaking up any clumps, and firmly pack until even with ground level.
• Finishing touches: Form a soil basin outside the edge of the planting hole to retain water. Mulch with 2-3 inches of bark mulch, keeping mulch away from the trunk.
Watering: Water slowly and deeply. Check the soil under the surface every couple days. Make sure it has dried before watering again, slowly and deeply.
• Here in Chicagoland, choose shrubs that are hardy to Zone 5. Our selection of shrubs and trees are sourced exclusively from northern climates.
• Plant a mix of deciduous and non-deciduous shrubs, so you have some green in the winter.
• Check how large this shrub will be when it is full grown to allow for enough space between plants and sufficient space from your house. Hydrangeas, for example, come in many different sizes.
• Select some shrubs that will provide color either with foliage, flowers, or berries. Be sure you know when the shrub blooms, so you can have color throughout the season.
• As with trees, be cautious about drainage and not planting too deeply. Most plants need good drainage. Potted shrubs will need some "teasing" before planting! Loosen and pull apart circling roots. Dig a nice wide hole but no deeper than the depth of the soil in the pot.
If you have any questions, ask us! We are happy to help and most of all, have a wonderful spring!
Posted on 3/30/2017 at 12:07:00 PM