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Planting Trees and Shrubs

Good grass is important, but it is only one element in a beautiful lawn. Grass can be enhanced by attractive trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. Although trees and shrubs are hearty plants, they must be planted correctly to survive.


The first step in planting trees and shrubs is to give them plenty of room. Make the hole in which the tree or shrub is to be planted wide enough for the longest root to be laid into it without crowding. A rule of thumb is to make the hole in which the tree or shrub is to be set one-half again as large as the diameter of the roots of the plant.


You can save yourself considerable cleanup time by piling the soil dug from the hole onto canvas or plastic sheets. This also prevents the piled dirt from killing or damaging the grass around the hole.


It's a good idea to mix some peat moss into the soil when replacing it around the newly set plant or tree.
 

If the shrub or tree is in a container, dig the hole at least 2" deeper than the root in the container. Loosen the soil below the root and add a small amount of plant food.
 

Remove the shrub or tree from the container and lower it into the hole. Refill the hole with thoroughly loosened soil. Then, form a mound with additional soil around the edge of the newly dug hole. This provides a basin to hold water until the plant is thoroughly rooted in the new location.
 

If the tree or shrub is a bare-root plant, unwrap the roots of the tree after the hole is dug and place it in position. Hold the plant upright with a spading fork while you tap the loose dirt around the roots. Always set the shrub or tree about 2" lower in the ground than it was originally set before replanting.
 

Use plenty of water when resetting balled or bare-root plants. Fill the basin around the tree and let the water soak in thoroughly. After one complete soaking, re-soak it again.
 

Water is essential to a new shrub or tree in the first few days after replanting. Keep the hole wet during this period. Be sure to build up a basin arrangement to keep water on the plant for several days. Water your newly planted shrub or tree every week to 10 days during a dry spell.

After replanting the tree or shrub, trim it to the shape and size desired. Pruned limbs will heal faster if you make slanting cuts just above the bud (see image). Spray pruned areas with special pruning spray immediately after trimming to deter insects and disease organisms.
 

Protect the new plant against injury and disease by covering the lower part of the tree trunk with a tree wrap. Start the wrap just above the roots and a little below soil level. Continue wrapping to just below the lowest limb (see first image below). Hold them in position with cords.
 

Keep the soil loosened around the new plant and give it a good start by feeding it lightly with plant food. Soak the food into the soil by watering (see second image below). Feed any new plant with plant food in the spring and fall until it reaches maturity.
 

You can create interesting clumps of trees by tying different varieties together and setting them out in bunches. Hold them in position with cords. The cords will rot away quickly after they are placed in the ground. Follow all other planting instructions when trees or shrubs are planted in clumps.

 


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