Photo Credit: Blake Thaxton

Photo Credit: Blake Thaxton

Often in Extension we are asked to look at unhealthy plants in the landscape.  We see every problem under the sun.  Whether it is diseases, insects, or cultural problems we run into them all.  One problem that seems to be a trend, when clients show us a declining tree, is signs of improper tree installation.  Though the tree may survive for 10 or 15 years after planting, it never thrives and it experiences a slow death.  Here are 11 easy steps to follow for tree installation.

  1. Look Up
  2. Dig a shallow planting hole as wide as possible
  3. Find the point where the top-most root emerges from the trunk
  4. Slide the tree carefully into the planting hole
  5. Position the point where the top-most root emerges from the trunk slightly above the landscape soil surface
  6. Straighten the tree in the hole
  7. Remove synthetic materials from around trunk and root ball
  8. Slice a shovel down in to the backfill
  9. Cover the exposed sides of the root ball with mulch
  10. Stake the tree if necessary
  11. Come back to remove hardware

For more detailed information visit this UF/IFAS website.

tree growth

Also remember that fall is a great time to plant a tree because of the way trees grow.  As you can see on the image above, roots tend to grow in the winter.  This is a good thing so that the root system will be well established when spring comes and a new flush of growth will begin on the top of the tree.

Blake Thaxton
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