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Planting Trees?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by BASIC, May 5, 2004.

  1. BASIC

    BASIC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    Hi,I'm in northwesten N.J.,Zone 5 and I need to plant trees on a property,I've never done this before.Whats the best time of year to plant?Do I have to prep the soil or just dig a hole,plant,water and pray?I'd like to use seedlings as there are a number of trees that I have to plant,any sources for buying seedlings?Any suggestions,thanks,BASIC.
  2. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Right now you can plant shrubs, trees, a week or two more annuals and what not, but yes you can plant trees now, in fact I have already planted a few myself. Dig a hole a little bigger then the tree ball, take the wireing off the tree ball if there is any, don't cut the string off the burlap, everything will basically decompose over time, the roots will grow through the burlap, add peat moss to the soil around the tree, then backfill, take the hose with out the nosel and let it run as if you were gonna drink out of it around the base of the tree for a little while. As for seedlings...are you talking maybe about like graphed plants? I know of a guy in our area, I'll look for his information.

  3. BASIC

    BASIC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    Jeff,thanks for your response.I saw a catalog a while ago from a company in PA.(Mosler Trees,I think)that sold seedlings,both with soil and bare root.I have a lot of area to coverso I'm looking for the most economical way to do it.What about fertilizer?Any suggestions on what spices work best in zone 5?I'm not looking for ornamental trees but native spices to the area.Thanks,BASIC.
  4. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    I would caution you on what the previous poster suggested. Peat Moss is acidic. If the plant you are planting does not like acidic soil and you are adding Peat Moss that could be a big no-no. If you want to get into soil amendments you should really have a soil test performed. Knowing what your soil pH is could help you decide what trees will fit there without having to amend your soil.

    Also, he is correct about digging the root ball twice the size of the root ball/container. HOWEVER, that only applies horizontally, NOT vertically. Worst mistake you can make is planting a plant too low. It is okay to leave a few inches above the root ball out of the ground, actually it is encouraged.

    You can really plant a tree anytime. However, the fall (best) and spring (better) are usually the best. You can plant during the summer during one of the heat waves we will receive here in new jersey in july or august. The key would be to never ever let the roots dry out. In other words, it will require a lot more tender care planting in the hot summer months than during cooler temperatures.

    In addition, mulching around the plant will help significantly. Organic mulch works best. It helps retain moisture and adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. Also, if you do mulch do not put in too thick of a layer. 3" should suffice. And try not to have the mulch thicker than 1/2" or so next to the trunk or low hanging branches. This promotes rot and unwanted fungus'.
  5. BASIC

    BASIC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    Thanks,if the fall is betterI can wait.I forgot to ask,whay about deer?We have a very high population where I live.BASIC.
  6. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    There are some shrubs that deer don't seem to like. The three I find most effective are Andromeda's, Rhododendron's, and barberry's. For some reasons they don't touch these. Mass plantings of these two look nice. Not very good for a focal point or stand alone shrub, IMO.

    As far as deciduous trees go, they will eat any type of tree, especially the buds in springtime, or over the winter. Best case for an immature tree is too fence it in. Especially in the winter when food is scarce due to snow and ice storms.

    As for evergreen trees, they will eat most of those also. It's like ringing a dinner bell in the wintertime. However, they don't sem to like colorado blue spruces. If you are looking for a border shrub, natural fenceline, and/or windbreak this should work well for you. Very expense though, but if you are using seedlings then they are much cheaper. But you won't have an adequate windbreak for over 10 years.

    They will eat up yews and azalea's. Don't bother without fencing or garlic, or irish spring soap or whatever other method to deter them.
  7. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Also, you DO want to remove the ropes/burlap from around the base of the tree, contrary to what was originally posted. The burlap and ropes will decompose over time, however, they will not decompose fast enough to cause damage to the tree. Simply cut the ropes off, and fold the burlap down around the edges of the root ball.

    There is no need to remove the entire wire basket. Usually cutting off the top "row" of wire is enough.

    Find the root flare, and plant that at or slightly above the existing grade. The root flare is where the trunk literally flares out into roots, hence the term. Once you remove the ropes and pull back the burlap, use a claw-type garden tool or small trowel to gently remove the soil from the top of the ball until you find the flare. I've had trees that have required no excavation to find the flare (very rare though), and I've also had trees that the flare was 6-8"+ down into the ball.

    Stake the tree as needed, the stakes should be removed after a full growing season has passed.


  8. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    D Felix,

    I was never informed (until now) or even read about a "root flare". I mean I heard of the root flare but never used the "flare depth method". My question is does this apply to containers also? It seems common sense would say yes, but you never know. Thanks.

    Also, I was under the impression that you can leave burlap on the tree IF they are NOT synthetic since they will break down. Although, you must be careful to pull it back from around the trunk and top of the root ball so that it can expand. What are your opinions on this?
  9. Rollacosta

    Rollacosta LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 331

    yeh ive got a suggestion why not enrol the help of a qualified arborist.and learn to plant trees the proffesional way..most of the posts ive read[regarding planting] on here havent got a clue:(
  10. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    RC- I know you are new here, but I do know you've been over on AS for a while... I also realize you are a Brit (even if that has nothing to do with it), but, try a little tact, OK?:D I do tend to agree though, there are a lot of people here that don't know what they are doing......

    Yes the root flare applies to ALL trees, containerized or B&B. The problem with container trees is that quite often the flare is halfway down in the container, and the tree is rooted in the potting medium well enough that you will have a VERY hard time trying to find the flare. Trees should NEVER be potted, but unfortunately they are and I'm guilty of planting several of them myself. Sometimes you have no choice since that is all that is available. Just do the best you can, and if in doubt, plant it high! Make sure you cut/untangle any circling roots before you drop the tree into the hole. That goes for B&B trees too.

    As for burlap, ALWAYS pull it away from the trunk. You need to do that anyway to find the flare. Ropes should be removed too, treated or not. Unless there is an excessive amount of burlap, I generally just stuff it down in the hole next to the root ball and backfill. Make sure you water the tree well when you plant it, and also later on when it really needs it. A good way to water when planting is to backfill 1/2 of the hole, then put a hose in the hole and water until it's about at surface level. This will/should thouroughly saturate the root ball and the surrounding soil.

    Very rarely do we get a tree from the nursery where all we have to do is dig the hole and drop it in, cut off the top ring of basket, water and backfill. Most times I usually spend 10 minutes or so trying to find the flare. But that usually means less digging to prepare the hole.:)

    Spruces and other evergreens, well, I admit, I'm lazy when it's warm and probably don't spend too much time trying to find the flare on those. I just generally plant them high, though they should get the same treatment as any other deciduous tree.....


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