Tree Planting Mistakes to Avoid

Choose the right tree

This seems like obvious advice, but a poor quality tree or the wrong tree in the right spot can be detrimental. Remember that not every tree available for sale is of good quality-and they might not be good quality for your specific region. Watch out for plants growing out of the container or any bark damage on younger trees. If you see these red flags, you’re signing on for a fixer upper.

You also need to ensure the tree will thrive in your chosen environment. Think about mature spread, height and make sure you have room for it to reach its full potential. You should also check the soil drainage, sun/shade exposure and pH of the soil to make sure the tree is a good fit for your location.

Just the right depth

Planting too deeply can cause big problems, so aim to have the root ball’s top to be level with the grade. The lower part of the trunk shouldn’t be buried in soil, and employ a lighter touch with mulching. Too much mulching is the same error as overly-deep planting. Aim for about three inches of mulch below the canopy. However, be wary of shallow planting, too-a root ball that’s exposed will become dry.

Just the right width

Every time you plant a tree, make sure the hole is between two and three times wider than the root ball. This will encourage root development laterally. Roots grow out, not down, so give it a fighting chance. Width that’s too narrow or too wide will cause your tree to struggle to grow, ultimately leading to a weak tree that won’t thrive.

Finally, also check for any root-bound trees and free them before planting. When finishing your planting, use the same soil that you dug-don’t modify the backfill with bark or compost. That can cause issues with water migration. Follow the recommended pruning and watering for your species, and resist the temptation to over-trim this season. Your tree has enough challenges getting literally uprooted and starting over.