Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Planting a New Tree
When it comes to planting a new tree in your yard, how you go about it will determine the lifespan of the tree. These are 3 things to avoid when it comes to adding a tree to your landscape for the best chance at a beautiful and healthy tree.
Mistake #1: Planting too close to your house or another structure, such as a garage, fence, shed or even another tree
Depending on the size of the tree when full-grown, plant at least 8-10 feet from your home for small trees, 20 feet for medium-sized trees and a whopping 70 feet or more for large trees. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, small trees are classified as those growing to a height of 30 feet or less, medium trees are 30-70 feet tall and large trees are 70 feet or more.
Some of my favorite small trees include the Japanese Maples, Crabapples, Lilacs, Dogwoods, Redbuds Pussywillow, Crepe Myrtles, Rose of Sharon and Weeping Cherry. Some good options for medium trees include Flowering Pears, Arborvitaes, Magnolias, Austrian Pines, River Birches, select Maples and Spruces. If you’re looking for a large tree, consider American Beech, Black Walnut, Norway Spruce, Paper Birch, Maples, Oaks, Ashes, and Tulip Trees.
Mistake #2: Staking
Not only is staking a tree unsightly, but it’s also unnecessary. Most often, trees do not need to be staked, nor is it recommended by many reputable garden centers. For a young tree to grow and develop properly, the trunk needs to be able to move and sway with the wind. The movement will help the trunk to thicken and strengthen, helping it to withstand stronger winds. Also, staking a tree for too long can cause a weak trunk and make the tree susceptible to damage.
Mistake #3: Mulch Volcanos
Piling mulch around the base of the tree to create a volcano has become somewhat of a trend lately. This is one of the most stressful things one can do to a tree. Mulch volcanos around the base of a tree can cause the tree to suffocate. Roots can grow up into the mulch, causing stem girdling, in which the roots wrap around the base of the tree and choke it. Too much mulch can also hide decay at the base of the tree. Mulch should be no more than 2-4 inches thick and kept at least 5 inches away from the base of the tree. My personal opinion is that a huge mound of mulch piled up around a tree just looks plain stupid.
Planting a new tree can be just the thing to add beauty, shade and value to your yard. With proper care and avoiding these costly mistakes, your new tree will flourish and be the focal point of your yard. If you’re lucky, your new tree could be home to a variety of birds, squirrels and other little critters. Arbor Day is quickly approaching on April 24. Why not think about planting a tree to beautify your yard and help the planet out at the same time?