Planting a tree in your yard might seem a little bit intimidating if you’ve never done it before. However, it’s not as complicated as you might think. With a little bit of planning, you can make sure your tree is set up for success and will last for many years to come.
Planting trees in your yard is an awesome idea for lots of reasons. Trees increase property values, not just for your home, but for the whole neighbourhood. Trees also clean our air, prevent erosion, provide habitat for local wildlife, and can help regulate temperatures in our homes. And the bonus is, you can get the whole family involved and leave a legacy for generations to come.
Selecting the Right Type of Tree
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re picking a tree for your yard: local climate, tree location, space needs. Basically, you want to make sure your tree is hardy to our local growing zone. All of the trees we keep in stock at our garden centre are hardy for the Powell River climate, but some are a little more delicate than others and may need a protected spot. Our expert team can help you find a tree that will thrive in your yard.
You’ll also need to think about how big of a tree you want. Our lovely saplings look so modestly-sized now, but many of them will fill out into huge trees, so make sure you have room for their mature height and spread.
Best Time to Plant
The best time of year to plant a tree is in spring or fall. Deciduous trees will do best if planted while dormant, so before the leaves start to pop out in spring, or after they’ve dropped off in the fall. During this period, trees can acclimate much more quickly to their new environment. While these temperate times of year make for ideal tree-planting conditions, you can plant trees any time of year provided the ground isn’t frozen. During the summer, freshly planted trees will require consistent moisture checks and frequent watering.
Where to Plant
Pick a tree planting location in your yard that suits the tree’s preferred environment. Don’t place a water-loving willow on the top of a dry hill. Make sure your location has enough room for your tree’s mature size. Get out a measuring tape and mark off how much space a fully grown version would take up. It will look tiny and lonely for a couple of years, but once it matures, you’ll be glad you gave it the space it needs.
Keep in mind things that large branches or roots could interfere with, like the foundation of your house, sidewalks, driveways, or fences. Make sure it is located far enough from these sorts of items so it won’t cause problems in the future.
Digging a Perfect Hole
The hole for your tree should be a few inches wider and deeper than its root ball. Before you put the root ball in the hole, it’s a good idea to check the water absorption of your soil. Fill the hole up halfway with water and keep an eye on it. Notice how long it takes to drain. If it is empty within a few minutes, you might have sandy soil. If the water just sits there and seems to soak in extremely slowly, you probably have quite a bit of clay in your soil. If you have either of these extremes, talk to one of our experts in our garden centre. We can help you improve the texture of your soil.
Knowing how fast the water drains away will also help you make sure your sapling is getting the right amount of water while it establishes itself. If the soil is clay, you’ll have to be careful not to overwater and rot the roots. If it soaks in too fast, you may have to water with smaller amounts more frequently.
Protecting Your Tree
Your newly planted tree will need a little bit of support for the first few years after planting to establish well. If you get plenty of wind in your yard, you might need to stake your tree to keep it from getting knocked around in the wind. When you pick up your new sapling from the garden centre, we’ll help you decide if it will need staking, and we’ll show you how to do it. If possible, plant your tree as soon as you get home. If you can’t get it in the ground right away, make sure to keep its root ball moist and keep it in the shade to avoid heat stress until you’re ready to plant.
Trees appreciate some support through the winters as well to help them stay strong and healthy for next spring. A thick layer of mulch, several inches deep, around the base, will help insulate its roots well and prevent damaging freeze and thaw cycles. Be careful that the mulch doesn’t actually touch the trunk, which can cause rot.
Depending on the weather, your tree should be watered daily for the first week or two. Obviously, if we get a heavy rain, you can skip a day. From 3-12 weeks, you should be watering every 2-3 days. After 12 weeks, you should water weekly until the roots are well-established.
How long you need to maintain weekly watering depends on the size of your sapling. If its main trunk is about 2 cm thick, you’ll need to water it with about 5 litres of water every week for about 1.5 years. We can provide watering recommendations for your specific type of tree when you pick it up from the garden centre.
To make watering more manageable, you can create a reservoir over top of the rootball, or you can use a water reservoir bag, which helps the water seep into the roots slowly instead of draining away.
If you’d like to plant a new sapling in your yard, come by our garden center for a visit. We’ve got many tree options that are perfectly suited to Powell River. Our friendly staff can help you choose the perfect tree to compliment your yard and add value to your property.