Spring is a perfect time to plant a tree, especially around Arbor Day. You can generally find trees potted in containers or balled and burlapped.
When you’re ready to plant, remove any excess soil in the pot or root ball to find the root flare. The root flare is the part of the trunk that swells out at the base of the tree.
If there are roots growing above the flare, remove them so they don’t girdle the plant later in life. Measure from this point to the ground to determine hole depth. Dig the hole two to three times wider than the soil ball.
For containerized plants, spread or cut the roots that have begun to circle in the pot. Position the plant in the hole and backfill with the same soil that was in the hole, using the clay first at the bottom, breaking up large clumps.
Pack 4 to 5 inches of soil around the root ball to stabilize the tree. Remove any ropes, exposed burlap, the top half of the wire basket, and any dirt on top of the root flare. Firmly pack more soil in hole until even with ground level.
Form a basin with 2 to 3 inches of soil, 4 to 6 inches outside the root ball to retain water. Water with a slow trickle from a hose. Water trees for 20 to 30 minutes. Mulch with 2 to 3 inches of mulch, making sure to keep mulch away from the trunk or stems.
Garden Tip is courtesy of The Growing Place, 630-355-4000, www.thegrowingplace.com.