Summertime is coming to an end and autumn is not far behind. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the fall is the picture of leaves changing to beautiful, bright colors and falling from trees throughout the Ford House property. However, autumn is not only a time for leaves to fall. It can also be the best time of the year to plant a new tree.
Even though the branches and leaves are dormant during the winter, a tree’s root system continues to grow and develop in the slightly warmer soil. By planting a tree in the fall, you allow the root system of your tree to properly develop so that it is able to better support the tree once spring arrives.
To plant a tree on your property this fall, follow these steps:
- Dig a wide, shallow hole about three times the diameter of the tree’s root ball and shallow enough so that the area of the trunk where the root flairs out is still visible
- Fill your hole with water to check for proper drainage, if the hole drains in 24 to 48 hours, the soil should be capable of sustaining a tree
- Remove any root containers from the tree, as well as any tangled roots
- Place the tree in the hole at the proper height
- Straighten the tree and fill the hole about one third full
- Place two to four inches of mulch at the base of the tree for insulation but not against the trunk
- Stake the tree for support if it will be exposed to high wind or other stresses
Once your new tree is planted, water thoroughly but not saturated. Keep watch to ensure there are no “air pockets” in the root zone. If there is an air pocket, the puddle water will “whoosh” away like a flushing toilet. Tamp the soil into the air pocket and, once again, add water. Continue watering your new tree deeply at its base so that it is able to establish its roots before winter. By planting in the fall and caring for your tree, it will be well developed and ready to grow when the warm weather returns.