How do you plant a tree? Ok, I have to confess I have never really thought about it. You dig a hole and put the tree in it. Wrong!
Apparently, we are one of the last to know the proper way to plant a tree. Adding over 1,000 native trees and bushes to our landscape the past several years, we have planted them all incorrectly. Who knew there is a right and wrong way?
Round vs square?
Come to find out (from a Facebook post, no less) the best way to plant a tree is in a large square hole. Not round, but square.
I never thought of a square hole, but it makes sense. Trees are generally sold in a container, with their roots already growing in a circular direction. When you dig a round hole, the roots just keep going round and round inside the hole, creating more of a ball.
By planting the tree in a square hole, the roots move out from the trunk and keep going straight when they reach the perimeter of the hole. The tree grows stronger with more extended roots and survives drought better. Just brilliant!
Other planting tips
Here are some other important planting tips.
- Make the hole at least twice as wide as the root ball or pot holding the tree. This allows for some space for the roots to grow outward before reaching the edge of the hole.
- Don’t plant the tree too deep or you could get root rot. The top of the root ball should be even with, or even a little above, the soil level.
- We dig a well around the planted tree to hold water when it rains. It saves having to water as frequently.
It is never too late to learn something new
So why are we just finding out these important suggestions? Especially since they have been the subject of debate since the 1890s. I guess it is never too late to learn something new, even how to plant a tree. At least, we now know so we can dig square holes for the next 100 trees we plant.
And what 2 trees are best for your landscape (in our humble opinion)? Check out blog Best Trees to Plant.