Celebrate Arbor Day the Tips Tree Planting Way!

Trees are not just beautiful additions to our surroundings. They have a profound impact on the environment, from preventing floods and controlling erosion to providing oxygen and habitat for wildlife. Trees also add value to our homes, improve our mental well-being, and offer privacy and visual interest. That’s why we celebrate Arbor Day, and this year it falls on February 18, 2022.

So, how can we best celebrate Arbor Day and honor the contributions that trees make? By planting a tree, of course! Planting a tree is a simple yet powerful way to contribute to the environment and create a lasting impact. In this article, we’ll guide you through some basic tree planting techniques that will ensure your tree thrives for years to come.

Prepare the Soil and Site

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Before planting a tree, it’s important to prepare the soil and survey the planting site. Start by collecting a soil sample to determine the pH level and fertilizer needs. This will ensure that your tree gets the nutrients it requires to grow strong and healthy. Survey the site as well—check whether the area is suitable for good growth. Ensure that water drains well and that there are no obstacles or chemical spills that might hinder the tree’s growth.

Choose High-Quality Plants

To give your tree the best start, it’s crucial to choose high-quality plants. Container-grown trees can be transplanted with minimal shock, and they are available year-round. Local nurseries offer a variety of trees to choose from, making it easy to find the perfect match for your environment. Alternatively, you can explore bare root seedlings, like the ones offered by the National Arbor Day Society. Bare root seedlings should be planted in fall, winter, or early spring in Georgia to allow their root systems to establish before the water demand increases during the hot summer months.

Planting Techniques

When it comes to planting your chosen tree, there are a few techniques to keep in mind. If you’re planting several trees in one area, rototill the soil to a depth of 12-15 inches. For container-grown trees, dig a hole three times as wide and only as deep as the root ball. This will allow the roots to grow rapidly and establish themselves. Place the tree in the hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. If you notice any roots growing in a circular manner, gently tease them apart to prevent girdling. For bare root seedlings, plant the tree at the same depth it stood in the nursery, providing enough room for the roots to spread.

Backfill and Watering

Once your tree is in place, backfill the hole with the existing soil, ensuring there are no air pockets. Research suggests that using only the existing soil is the best practice—avoid adding soil conditioner or other amendments. Water the tree when planting and again a few hours later. After that, the tree will need approximately one inch of water per week. However, refrain from fertilizing the tree in its first year after planting.

Mulching for Moisture and Weed Control

To maintain moisture levels and prevent weed growth, shape a 2-3-inch ring of soil around the planting hole. This will help direct water to the roots. Afterward, apply a 3-inch layer of mulch, making sure to keep it a few inches away from the trunk. Mulch acts as a barrier, preserving moisture and deterring weeds while preventing disease from affecting the tree.

Celebrate Arbor Day with Tips Tree Planting

While planting a tree may require some time and effort, the long-term benefits and beauty make it a truly worthy endeavor. To celebrate Arbor Day in style, we want to offer you a free tree seedling. Visit the Paulding County Extension Office on Georgia Arbor Day, Friday, February 18, between noon and 5 pm to pick up your seedling. You’ll find us at 530 West Memorial Drive, Dallas, GA 30132. Let’s make a difference together!

Remember, the author of this article, Molly Zablan, is a Paulding UGA Extension Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV). MGEVs are passionate about educating homeowners on horticulture using unbiased, research-based information from the University of Georgia. For more information, contact Paulding County UGA Extension at 770-443-7616 or visit us at Tips Tree Planting.

So, roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and get ready to make a positive impact on Arbor Day. Planting a tree is not just an act of love for nature—it’s an investment in a greener, healthier future. Let’s celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees and contributing to the beauty and well-being of our environment.

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