Tree planting 101 with Connor Tree Service: Finding the right location
Welcome back to our blog series about tree planting. As Charleston’s premier ISA-certified tree service provider, we want to share important information about planting to encourage long and healthy lives for all trees on your property. While we happily provide tree removal and stump grinding services too, we don’t want to have to use them on young trees!
So let’s dive into ideal location for planting new tree and early maintenance
How do I plan for the future of my young tree?
The ultimate size of the mature tree should provide enough information to choose a proper location. Using mature size as guide, make sure you are leaving enough space between your new tree and buildings on your property. For example, do not plant in close proximity to houses or commercial buildings. As roots grow, they can be damaged or cause damage to structural foundations. Also, if trees are too close to buildings, you will have to spend the time and money to have branches cut away. Also planting future large trees close to driveways and sidewalks can cause upheaving of those elements, which can lead to even greater future problems.
What if I’m planting multiple young trees?
When planting multiple trees, it is important to allow enough space for mature trees to have ample room to naturally flourish. Often times, planting trees close together can add instant gratification or meet mitigation requirements, but in the long run, problems will persist.
There’s also some science to consider when planting multiple trees. Have you ever noticed plants or trees that seem to bend toward or lean away from the sunlight? This is called phototropism. When they bend toward the light, it’s positive phototropism. When they lean away, it’s called negative phototropism, or skototropism. Positive phototropism is more common than skototropism, but a tree’s tendency toward either should be taken into consideration. When trees are planted too close together, phototropism can cause crossing branches, an issue all on its own, and this crossing can inhibit proper photosynthesis because lower level branches and leaves can’t get enough light. The required amount of space between trees really depends on tree species.
Get an assessment and quote from Connor Tree Service today.
How should I go about watering my young tree?
After you have determined the correct site for your new young tree and it is correctly planted with root flare exposure, etc. (see last month’s blog for more information about this), water will be important for the first couple of weeks.
If you use drip irrigation tubes around your tree, allow enough room so the tubing doesn’t girdle the root flare area of tree. We see this often, unfortunately. Eventually, the drip irrigation should be removed from maturing trees, as there are enough roots to maintain tree. If drip irrigation isn’t properly removed, it will eventually grow into the tree and can cause it to die.
If you can’t or choose not to use drip irrigation, you will have to manually water tree with hose. (Location is obviously important for this part of tree care…you don’t want to plant so far away you can’t easily get to the tree to water it.) For best results, slowly turn the water valve to allow a slow flow of water, letting the area around tree to soak. Providing lots of water at a high pressure isn’t very effective, as most of the water will run off. Then just remember to keep the area moist.
Once your tree is established, after month or so, water should only be necessary during extreme hot days, during droughts, or with lack of consistent rain.
Should I fertilize my young tree?
Fertilizer is not necessary, as it is generally just fine to allow natural soil conditions to remain intact. It can be very hard to change the composition of soil outside of specialized plant beds. Adding fertilizer is a short-term solution and often costly. In our extensive experience, we have found that this step is generally unnecessary.
What about pruning and trimming my young tree?
For the first two to five years, depending on tree species, pruning should be limited, allowing the tree to naturally progress towards maturity. It is important to eliminate any crossing branches from the canopy area and to maintain a central leader. Co-dominant leaders compete against each other and form a weak junction. If you are concerned about your tree’s branches, we encourage you to give us a call. We can send out our Tree Risk Assessment Qualified crew to assess what’s going on and make suggestions.
In the next blog, we will discuss in more detail the types of pruning that may be required to eliminate future structural issues to allow tree to naturally flourish. We can’t wait to see you then.