Tips for a First Time Tree Planter

It’s spring, it’s warming up, and it’s time to start thinking about your landscape. When it comes to planting trees, it can be difficult to know if you are installing them properly. Our tree professionals at Summit Landscape Management & Tree Service Inc. want you to know the most common mistakes when planting trees and how to avoid them.

Common mistakes of planting a tree:

  1. Lack of planning
  2. Wrong tree/Wrong location
  3. Improper planting
  4. Post-planting neglect

Here are some tips to help avoid these mistakes

1) Find the perfect spot (Lack of Planning):

Chances are that if you are looking at planting a tree in your landscape you either have a type of tree or location in mind. We recommend finding the place you want to plant a tree. One of the common mistakes we see at Summit Tree Service is people falling in love with a certain kind of tree and then having no where to put it, which can result in planting it in the wrong place.

  • It is also common when planning your garden to only think about how it looks on installation. In other words, people tend to think of their landscape in the short term. A tree is a long-term investment to your home landscape, so it is essential that is in the correct location.
  • Do NOT plant it too close to your house. A tree right outside the window might look nice and shade against direct sunlight, but this is not always the best option. Here is a good guide for determining the proper distance for your tree from your house.
  • Keep in mind that trees planted close to the house will need more frequent maintenance over the years in terms of trimming branches and monitoring the spread of roots that could start pushing into your foundation.

Other questions to ask: How big is this tree expected to grow? What part of my landscape has the best soil and sunlight?


2) Decide what type of tree you want (Wrong Tree/Wrong Location):

When you have that perfect spot picked out its time to pick out the perfect tree for that spot. Every yard is different and finding a balance between what is aesthetically pleasing and able to thrive in your unique setting is important.

  • The Ornamental or Flowering Pear- Our chosen tree because it is hardy, yet beautiful. It does not produce edible pear fruit, but flowers in the summer and is easy to care for. It comes in many different varieties to suit your landscape needs and can be used as a screen in the summer months to escape the sun.
  • The Sugar Maple- This tree is on Michigan State University’s list of Deer Resistance Vegetation. It flourishes in the fall, showing off a spectrum of bright colors. It is a full sun and/or partial shade tree that prefers slightly moist soil. 

Other questions to ask: How much sunlight is my planting site getting? What time of year do I want my tree to flower? Do I have woodland critters looking for a snack in my backyard?


3) How Deep to Dig? (Improper Planting):

Many people when planting their first tree are nervous about making sure it is far enough in the ground and they often over compensate and put it too far into the ground. This can make it more difficult for the tree to grow and can result in stem girdling roots.

  • Stem girdling roots occur when roots grow in the wrong direction, turning inwards and pressing against the trees stem. They can suffocate the trees nutrient absorption process or make it more susceptible to being blown over by high winds. If you want to learn more about Stem girdling roots and how to identify them in your yard, click here.
  • Make sure that the hole dug is about 4 times as wide as the size of your trees root base.You want the sides of the hole to gradually slope inwards so roots can spread easier.he top of the root base should be sticking slightly above the ground. Fill in dirt around the root base and make sure your tree is straight. You may consider adding supporting tree stakes and arbor tie to make sure it doesn’t lean. It is necessary to remove the arbor tie once the tree is established so it doesn’t inhibit growth.

If you are worried that you might have an existing stem girdling root in your landscape, contact our tree service, we can help.

Other questions to ask: Is the hole wide enough? Have I carefully removed the tree from its container without damaging the roots?


4) Have a Plan in place for year-round tree care (Post Planting Neglect):

Most trees will not NEED attention every season of the year, but it is important to know when to care for your trees.

  • Even if you don’t plan on being very strict with your plant health care, having an idea of when to have things done will prevent you from pruning your tree during the wrong season and exposing it to potential diseases.
  • Not sure if you want to deal with pruning? You can always contact a professional to take the hassle of your plate.If you have any questions about the trees you want planted in your yard or your landscape in general Let Us Know. We are happy to help.

Questions to ask: When is the best time of year to trim my tree? When is the best time to fertilize my tree?














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