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Planting And Feeding Your Trees

Jan 23, 2008
If a tree is planted and fed right, it will last for decades, maybe more than a hundred years. It is well worth while following the guidelines below, to make your trees almost indestructible.

In planting or transplanting a tree, and in building on a lot where you wish to preserve the trees, the gardener's chief consideration must be to protect the root structure of the tree. The big roots near the stem anchor the tree to the ground, while the fine root hairs at the ends of the rootlets absorb the water from the soil.

Planting

In planting trees, their mature height and spread must be considered before a selection is made. Tempting as are the nursery catalogs, it is necessary to choose carefully, especially on the average lot, because crowding spoils the growth and appearance of trees, particularly specimen trees.

Today you can plant trees when in full leaf with the aid of new wilt-proof sprays that seal the leaves against moisture loss until the roots are established. This, however, costs money and entails greater risks than buying your tree and planting it in early spring( the best time) or late fall or winter. If you are planting a tree over 6 feet tall, it will suffer less setback if moved with a bur-lapped root ball.

To plant a tree dig a hole 2 feet deep and at least 1 foot wider each way than the full spread of the roots. The bottom of the hole should be broken up with a pitchfork and thoroughly mixed with peat, leaf mold, loam, etc. Manure should be used sparingly and only on the top of the hole as it burns the roots. The deeper you can cultivate your hole, the better for your tree.

If you are planting a seedling that is not balled and burlapped, you will want to protect it by "heeling in" a vacant flower bed where it may be kept before planting as long as dormant. This means laying it on its side and covering the roots with good soil. When you take it from the soil, give it a mud bath or "puddle" it. Puddling protects the roots from exposure to air before planting and also from any air pockets which may exist after planting.

Having filled the hole to the depth required by the roots of the plant, flood it with water to settle the soil at the bottom; when this has drained away, place the tree in the position in which it is to grow and settle the soil about it.

Use a stick or shovel handle to work the soil around the roots, and make certain there are no air pockets. Spread the roots out naturally, planting the tree at about the same depth as in the nursery or its former location. When the hole is two-thirds full, trample it down and again fill with water. Don't firm down the remaining soil, so that the water will drain towards the trunk.

Feeding Trees

When trees grow naturally in the forest, the leaves fall around them, decay and form a good soil. The leaves also preserve moisture in the soil. On a lawn, however, the tree must compete with the grass for moisture and nutrients, and the leaves are raked up to prevent grass disorders, so that the successful gardener finds it wise to supply nutrients every two or three years.

Feeding should be done when the ground is workable, in the spring or in the fall.

An easy method is to drill holes 2 to 3 feet beyond the outer branches, 12 to 18 inches deep and spaced about 15 inches apart. Fill each hole with a commercial fertilizer (made up of bone meal, tankage, peat moss or humus) plus chemicals, in a formula containing 10% nitrogen,6% phosphoric acid and 4% potash.

With the above information you can plant trees successfully, feed them satisfactorily and have a beautiful garden.
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