Looking for a way to cut air conditioning costs? Plant shade trees on the southwest and southeast side of your house. How about saving on your heating bills? Plant evergreens on the north side. Maybe you want a little fresh air, a little color, or a little shelter for wildlife. Trees can do it all. Planting trees is a wonderful thing to do. Trees add beauty to your landscaping, while helping out the environment and air quality. Planting them is easy, if you follow a few simple steps.
You have a lot of variables to take into consideration when you're thinking about planting a tree. Your lot size, soil condition, and climate will influence your choice. Also, you should decide what you want from your tree. If you want quick shade, silver maples grow fast enough to give it to you in a few years. Dogwoods, crabapples, crape myrtle, and purple-leafed plum give you beautiful blossoms the following spring. You have lots of choices.
Timing is important when you buy a tree. Wait till the fall, since that's the ideal time for planting it. Trees are sold in containers, bare-root, or with root balls. If you plant yours in the fall, the combination of warm soil and cool air stimulates root growth. So your tree can get established before the frost sets in.
This is the fun part. You need to dig a hole that's deep enough for the tree's roots to sit on solid dirt, with the soil line slightly above ground level. If you have a bare-root tree, dig the hole at least six inches below the soil line, so that the roots can be surrounded by loose soil.
Your tree needs a good home in the soil, with lots of nutrients. Mix up one part yard soil with one part amended soil, such as Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Trees, Shrubs, and Ornamentals. Make a small mound in the center of your hole and place your trees on it. The soil line should be slightly higher than ground level. If you tree has a root ball, untie it and start filling the hole with your soil mixture. Tamp the soil gently with your foot as you go so that there's a slight depression around the base for catching water.
At this point, give yourself and your tree a big, long drink of water - a few ounces for you, and five to ten gallons for your tree. About one month after planting, feed it with a product such as Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All-Purpose Plant Food. You'll want to do this every week until the ground freezes. In the spring, give your tree a pick-me-up with Miracle-Gro® Trees and Shrub Fertilizer Spikes.