Arbor Day is this Friday, April 30, 2021. This special celebration is a great way to recognize the importance of trees in our lives and as part of the environment. There are so many intangible benefits of trees. Even though we don’t consciously think about it, trees mark the changing of the seasons (buds in spring, green leaves in summer, colorful leaves in fall, bare in winter) and they also serve as landmarks, giving neighborhoods their identity.
If you are thinking about it, here are 7 tips for planting an Arbor Day 2021 tree.
1. Dig a hole at least two times wider than the container. The hole should have sloping sides like a saucer to allow for proper root growth. Incorporating organic matter with the existing “parent soil” around the perimeter of the tree makes a world of difference when the roots begin to extend into the the soil.
2. Carefully remove the tree from the container keeping the soil around the roots intact. It helps to tap the outside of the container to loosen the edge. Carefully slide the tree from the container. Don’t yank the tree out of the container as this can separate the roots from the tree.
3. Sometimes containerized trees become root-bound or the roots look like they’re about to circle the root ball. If your tree is like this gently pull some of the roots around the outside and at the bottom to free them from the circular pattern.
4. Set the tree in the middle of the hole. Avoid planting the tree too deep. If the root collar sits below the top of the hole, compact some soil under the tree so that the root flare at the base of the trunk is slightly above ground level. Using some soil, secure the tree in a straight position, then fill and firmly pack the hole with soil, making sure there aren’t any air pockets. Keep backfilling until the soil is just below the root collar.
5. Create a water-holding basin around the hole and give the tree a good watering. After the water has soaked in, spread protective mulch 2–3 inches deep in a 3-foot diameter area around the base of the tree. Do NOT mound mulch at the base of the tree you do not want mulch mounded against the trunk.
6. The soil and mulch around your trees should be kept moist but not soggy. During dry weather, generously, water slowly at the dripline.
7. Remove any tags and labels from the tree as these will affect the tree as it grows. You may need to prune any broken or dead branches.
Fertilizer? We recommend Bonide Root and Grow (mix with water) or Espoma Tree Tone when planting. Dairy Doo is a great supplement also at the base of the tree.