One flowering tree can provide as much nectar and pollen as an entire garden. Fruiting shrubs and trees offer multiple other benefits to our yards: habitat, shade, height and structure, food for people and other wildlife, and seasonal interest throughout the year. Large trees can even intercept hundreds of gallons of rain before it becomes runoff.
Things you should consider
- Locate underground utilities, which should be avoided. Call 811 to have your public utilities marked, and make sure you won’t be digging through any privately-buried power or cable lines.
- How wide and tall is the space that can be filled? You will likely plant a tree or shrub that is a fraction of its mature size. Make sure it is placed where it can develop a healthy trunk and canopy.
- What are the site conditions? Many trees and shrubs, like other plants, thrive or struggle in different soil and light conditions. Make your life easier and choose one that will thrive.
Planting a tree or shrub
When you have the right plant for the right spot, it’s time to dig.
- Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the root ball
- Straighten, cut or remove encircling roots. If left to themselves, they will continue to grow in a tight circle that will keep your tree unstable and eventually strangle it.
- Place the tree in the hole so that its root crown is at or slightly above ground level. Make sure it’s straight.
- Backfill the hole, gently but firmly, watering it periodically to reduce air pockets.
- Keep your new tree or shrub watered. This is key to the health of a newly-planted tree.