Nov 8, 2012 | The Tennessean
The appearance of the first frost marks the end of one planting season and the beginning of another. For gardeners, the time for growing a bounty of food and flowers has ended, but the season for planting trees and shrubs has begun.
Tree experts advise that fall, winter and early spring are the best times to plant trees. The plants are dormant now, and nutrients that would otherwise go into actively growing shoots and leaves are transported to the root system instead. A well-established root system means a healthier tree.
For successful tree planting, follow these guidelines offered by the Nashville Tree Foundation at www.nashvilletreefoundation.org: (And join Nashville Tree Foundation volunteers to plant trees on ReLeafing Day, Nov. 17):
» Dig a hole in the shape of a wide V that is two to three times the width of the tree’s root ball. The hole should be wide but not deep — only deep enough that the root ball sticks up about 2 inches above the soil line.
» Remove the tree from its container, or if it’s a balled-and-burlapped tree, remove as much of the material as you can, and cut any wire, tape or rope around the root ball. Fill the hole with water and let it drain, then set the tree in the hole and fill with soil. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and remove air pockets. If the tree is stable, staking is not necessary. Only prune if you need to remove dead wood or damaged branches.
» Finally, add 3 or 4 inches of mulch, but leave clear space around the tree so mulch doesn’t touch the trunk. Provide regular water for the first two years the tree is in the ground, especially during times of drought.
With a good beginning in this prime planting season, a new tree or shrub should enjoy a long, healthy life.