The Aspen Knowledge Base..

How do I plant Shade Trees?

Early Spring is an excellent time to plant trees for Summer shade or for that ornamental look. Bare-root trees of many deciduous species become available in January. These trees usually have an excellent value. By following basic horticultural practices, most trees will survive. Keeping the roots alive is key when planting, and it is important to remember that the small roots are very fragile. The best time to plant is on a cool, overcast day. When digging, make sure the hole is large enough for the root system. Unless the roots are very long, it is better to dig a bigger hole than to prune the roots. However, broken or damaged roots should be removed immediately.

When setting the final grade, remember the tree should be about the same height it was growing at the nursery. Water should drain away from the trunk whether or not a basin is formed because wet trunks encourage root rot in our climate. The best technique for settling soil after planting is to push a hose down into the planting hole and turn on the water, which will settle soil without the need for tamping. Pruning of newly planted bare-root trees should generally be avoided and heading cuts to the leader should be particularly discouraged. A dominant central leader is the key to establishing good structure in most shade tree species.

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We have listed below some of the most common questions that our customers ask us about planting. Feel free to browse this knowledge base. You can call us or drop by the nursery anytime and speak to our friendly staff, if you have a question that is not answered here.

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