Trees require as much love and care as any other plant you choose to grace your yard with. At Marcus Farms Inc. of Arkport, NY, we support your endeavor to give one of our trees a new home. By following a few simple steps, you can help alleviate the possibility of tree failure as a result of planting or adaptation shock.
Think ahead before planting. Do you know how big the tree will get? Is there enough room for how big the tree will get? Is there enough room for the tree 5 to 10 years down the road? How close will this be to the house power lines, driveways, and street?
Once you select a location, check to see if there are any concerns with digging deep holes; double check with your utility companies. You should utilize the call before you dig hotline: 1-800-962-7962.
Choose a site with good drainage.
Standard Measure for the hole:
Width & Depth
4’ – 5’
36” x 20”
6’ – 7’
38” x 20”
7’ – 8’
40” x 24”
8’ – 9’
44” x 24”
9’ – 10’
50” x 24”
10’ – 12’
50” x 26”
12’ – 14’
55” x 28”
14’ – 16’
60” x 30”
16’ – 20’
70” x 32”
20’ – 24’
80” x 36”
Put a 2” x 4” piece of wood (or yardstick or shovel handle) across top of the tree’s ball. Measure to the bottom of the ball for the depth of the hole. The top of the ball should be level, or slightly higher, than the surface of the ground.
Dig your hole the depth measured in step #4. The hole can be double the width of the ball. (12” of extra space around the ball at a minimum).
Place the tree in the hole. When you are sure the depth looks good and you’re ready to cover it up, WAIT, there is an important step. FIRST, use a pair of wire cutter and cut off 1 or 2 rounds of the metal basket from the top of the tree ball & cut and remove ALL twine from the trunk and top of the root ball. (Removing burlap is NOT NECESSARY)
Fill the hole with soil. You may choose to add mulch, compost or peat moss to the backfill soil to improve its water-holding capacity or organic composition. HOWEVER, do not backfill with more than 1 part additive to 2 parts soil.
Adding mulch will help retain moisture. Stake the tree, if needed, to give it support.
During the time immediately following the planting you need to handle two issues: watering and fertilization.
Adding fertilizer to your tree can help give it the essential nutrients to grow strong and healthy, although many soils in Western NY have most of these nutrients readily available naturally. The most important thing to remember about fertilizing is that, like watering too much can be equally damaging, or often more damaging, than not fertilizing at all. Most non-organic fertilizing contains high amounts of salt compounds that can hurt a tree’s roots if over-applied. In general, buy a fertilizer that is intended for trees and shrubs, and follow the directions on the label. Over-fertilizing is one of the most common causes of death to newly planted trees.
Your new tree will need watering for at least the first season after being transplanted. Although all tree species are different and watering needs do vary, the general minimum requirement for a newly planted tree should be 5 gallons per trunk inch (diameter/caliper) every day. This means that if you have planted a tree with a trunk diameter of 3 inches, you should give that tree a minimum of 15 gallons (3 inches trunk X 5 gallon = 5 gallons) of water every 3 days.
These are several different methods that you can use to get your tree the required water:
Method #1 Drill a 1/8” hole in a 5-gallon bucket (rinsed clean) and set it around the base of the tree. Fill the bucket with water, and it will gradually drain out into the root zone of the tree. Use multiple buckets periodically to be sure the holes are not plugged and are draining properly.
Method #2 If the tree can be reached with a garden house, stretch the hose to the root zone of the tree and leave water running on the root zone for 45 minutes to an hour at one-quarter the rate of flow the hose normally run. For larger trees, be sure to move the hose once or twice during this time to make sure all areas of the root zone get some water. REMEMBER, if you live in a municipality that had metered water usage, this may not be a cost effective way to water your tree.
Method #3 Install soaker hose or drip irrigation around each tree. Follow the manufacturer’s specific instruction as to how much water is delivered to the tree over a certain period of time, in order to fulfill the watering needs of your tree. Most of these systems include a chart that will show you how to calculate your watering.
NOTE: These watering practices should be followed for at least the first growing season (ending in mid-October), but can benefit your tree every year afterward if you choose to continue beyond that. Take into consideration how much water your tree is getting from natural rainfall every week. Too much water can be just as harmful as getting none at all. If you have gotten a significant amount of rain, and your lawn or area around the tree seems saturated, skip a round of water and wait for the area to drain and dry.
If you are concerned about the health of your tree, we are here to help. Please email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your concern and contact information.