Licensed & Insured ISA Certified Arborists (PN-8224A)
Portland, Oregon
22 Mar 2019

Tree Planting Help: How To Give Your Trees The Best Chance

The science of planting a tree for the best possible growth patterns is a difficult one because it isn’t precise: the truth is that every home has a unique set of elements that can change how planting goes if the tree succeeds, and if it will thrive. Of course, there are always some universal steps that you can take to ensure that your tree is one of the ones that grow tall.

Don’t let the prevalence of trees deceive you: planting a tree is difficult, depending on the species. That is why there are so many nurseries and gardening centers around that start them out for you. Even then, the first few months of care are vital to ensure that the tree will actually survive.

Here are some of our best tips:

Dig A Hole That Is Big Enough

Newly planted tree
Credit: montillon.a
  • Go bigger than you need to
  • Make sure you have some help to keep the tree standing
  • Think twice, dig once

When you are planting your tree, you want to be smart: it is going to get so much bigger. You want to plant a tree that will be small (30 feet or less) at least ten feet away from your home’s foundation and any utility lines. If the tree is going to be larger than that, you want to go at least five feet more or further, depending on the type of tree.

Remember that the larger the tree is, the more chance there is that catastrophic damage can occur. Do some research to see how tall the trees that you want will get – you might be surprised.

When it actually comes to the planting, Better Homes And Gardens recommends that “First, prepare a hole two to three times as wide as the root ball of your tree. Handle the root ball carefully to keep it intact while you place it in the hole. Once it’s in, turn it so the best side of the tree is facing the direction you want. With burlapped root balls, cut the twine and remove the burlap (or at least push it to the bottom of the hole).”

Know What To Remove

Young tree
Credit: seyed mostafa zamani
  • Certain materials don’t pose a risk – others do
  • Try to keep the area free of contaminants
  • Make sure the area doesn’t have chemicals

The soil that surrounds the tree’s roots is important to guarantee the success of the plant. You want to ensure that the soil is free of chemicals or contaminants. You might be tempted to “clean” or pare down the area, removing anything you see. While you do want to clear out anything that can zap away nutrients or water, you also don’t want to disrupt your trees’ environment.

Trees thrive in nature: remember that.

If you have a tree that was wrapped up when you go it, you want to remove everything that you can once it is in the hole, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. You especially want to remove any vinyl, treated burlap, or plastic that can easily leech chemicals into the soil. Plain burlap or any natural materials can be cleaned out or they can stay. Metal wires should be removed as well.

Once again, if you want to err on the side of caution, that would be suggested here.

Water, Water, Water

Young evergree
Credit: Vladimer Shioshvili
  • The more water the better
  • Make sure to keep the ground moist but not over saturated
  • Pay attention to weather patterns

As a general rule, unless we are in a drought, you do not have to water your trees very regularly. They are able to get the water they need from the ground. However, when you first plant your tree, you absolutely want to water it at a regular rate. This may seem excessive, but it is important to establishing early growth.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, “The most important thing you can do for your new tree is to water it, often enough to keep the soil moist, about once a week. If it doesn’t rain you will need to use a hose, buckets, or gallon jugs. At each watering, your tree should get about 5 gallons of water for every inch of trunk diameter. Hold up a ruler to the tree trunk to figure out the diameter.

For example, if you have a tree with a half-inch trunk diameter, it should get at least 2 1/2 gallons of water.”

If you have a meter to test the soil, even better!

To Stake Or Not To Stake?

Credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn
  • Depends on the tree
  • If harsh weather is expected, stake the tree
  • Use only high quality materials

One of the biggest debates among tree professionals is whether or not trees should be staked. While most studies have shown that trees that have not been staked will establish more quickly, and they will develop a stronger root system, some people still insist on doing so. Staking is sometimes required, it is important to point out, when you have planted a bare root tree or if you live in a place where it is particularly windy. Sometimes, people will stake if they plant when a storm is coming, but the best thing to do is to avoid doing that altogether.

Another reason to use stakes is to protect against lawnmower damage and vandalism, according to Trees Are Good.

If you have to stake your tree, use only one or two and use a very flexible tie material on the lowermost part of the tree. This will help to keep it upright and will minimize injury to the trunk. Make sure to remove the stakes and ties within a year or planting.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. We can help you throughout all the parts of the tree care life cycle, from planting new trees to taking down older ones. This even includes helping you to safely move trees. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of tengrrl on Flickr!
27 Jun 2018

Want to Add Trees To Your Yard? 4 New Ways To Do It

We all want to have yards that have beautiful trees that make spending time outside all the better. Whether you want to add trees that are tall and strong or you want to add trees for beauty, you have to be judicious about where you will put your trees and how you will use them in the design of your yard.

Before you even think about planting a tree in your yard, you have to think about what kinds of trees you want, how much maintenance you are willing to do with your trees, what function you want those trees to have in your yard, any structures that might interfere with your trees, and even how much those trees cost to maintain and plant.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into planting a tree – it isn’t just digging a hole. You have to think about the ways in which you will use your tree – and how everyone in your family will interact with it.

Interested in getting started? Here are four new tree landscaping designs to consider:

4. Think About Adding Value to Your Home

house with a tree
Credit: Roger W
  • Trees take a long time to grow – people value already grown trees
  • Think about getting rare trees that you don’t see elsewhere
  • Do not go overboard or you will have the opposite effect

A mature tree that has been planted and taken care of by professionals can add between $1,000 and $10,000, according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. If you are looking to get this increase in value, remember that it takes years for trees to reach their mature size, so plant your trees as early as possible to get the best results.

When planting a tree to help add value to your home, you will need to think about the types of trees that people really want in their yards. People aren’t looking to add to their yard maintenance, for example, but they might appreciate a fruit tree. The best type of tree for your yard will depend on your home – trees that are tall and strong (and could maybe support a tree house or swing) might be great for a home with many bedrooms. On the other hand, a ranch home with one bedroom will probably have a person or couple that doesn’t want the backbreaking yardwork associated with many trees.

3. Create an Extra Room

Credit: Cory Doctorow
  • Gives you privacy
  • Extends your living space
  • Makes you want to spend time outside

If you aren’t the type of person who likes to spend all of your time indoors, but you have a lot to do outside, you may want to consider using trees to help create an extra room outside. This will give you privacy when you are outside and still make it possible to keep yourself hidden from your neighbors. You can really do this in many ways, but the best bet is to plant trees and then fill in any open space with taller plants and shrubs.

According to Better Homes and Gardens: “If you don’t want to work on making your entire yard a private paradise, take one corner and transform it into a secluded getaway. A simple way to do this is to carefully place a couple of trees to form a pocket. Here, for example, two pines make a hammock feel tucked away. A redbud just behind the hammock enhances the effect.”

2. Garden Shape Matters

tree in garden
Credit: Harry Lawford
  • Consider getting professional planning
  • Think about plants, walkways, water features, and your trees
  • Remember you have to mow your lawn

When planning when and where to plant your tree, you want to think about what will be around your tree. Most people plant trees in a garden – but should you for your yard? Lifehacker recommends looking at your space from above to really plan out the shape and scope of your garden. You will want to consider whether or not your tree and other greenery will compete for nutrients, water, and sunlight.

You can even get the tape out and map out things like where your tree will go, what the garden shape will be, how much shade there will be, and even where the root system will go. With a bit of online research, you should be able to find the answers to all of these questions and more.

1. Look From the Inside

tree through a window
Credit: BurnAway
  • Think about safety and security
  • You probably spend more time inside than outside
  • Determines type of tree that you want

HGTV says that one of the biggest landscaping mistakes that people make is the fact that they don’t think about what their yards will look like from the inside of your home. This is important because we do tend to spend a lot more time inside of our homes looking out than we do outside of it enjoying the shade, fragrance, or aesthetic appeal.

Stand inside your home and look out the windows in the rooms you occupy the most. What do you want to see? You’ll have to answer these questions before you can think about putting a tree in your yard. Do you want to be able to see the road? How about your driveway? Will you have kids that play outside or nosy neighbors that want to look inside? Each of these concerns can impact whether or not you want to plant a large tree or a small tree.

Tree care is difficult, nor is planting a tree, but it isn’t something that you want to do all by yourself without at least some help from a professional. For daily maintenance and maybe even planting the tree, you can take a lot of it into your own hands. Still, for bigger or harder jobs like bringing down branches, treating diseases, or pruning your trees, you want to contact a professional. If you aren’t sure what kind of tree you want in your yard, you should also reach out to a professional.

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Olin Gilbert on Flickr!