Tree planting, which would seem like a fairly straightforward subject, is actually quite complex. This is an area of urban arboriculture where a majority of the largest and most costly mistakes are made.
The two most common mistakes are: the wrong tree and the wrong place for it. There are simply too many factors to consider when planting a tree in the city for it to be done effectively by a layperson.
Choosing a poor tree specimen from retail nursery tree stock is tremendously common. Most nurseries do not have an arborist on staff, so stock that an arborist knows to be poor regularly ends up at retail nurseries. This can lead to very costly maintenance and repairs that the homeowner might not become aware of until the tree is mature and it is too late. It may be that you spend 10 years growing a tree to maturity only to have it fail and need to be removed.
We recommend hiring an arborist to choose the tree from the nursery and plant it for you. We have a large stock of healthy tree stock handpicked by our arborists. The cost of a typical tree planting is outlined below. The price of the tree will vary depending on the size and variety chosen.
- $65 - Tree Consultation: The ISA-certified arborist helps the homeowner choose the right tree for the right place, taking into account the homeowner's wants and needs and the environmental factors that will be affecting the tree.
- $200 - Tree Sale: This is the price for the tree itself. All of our trees are hand picked by our ISA-certified arborists to ensure they are premium stock. Because we know our trees are premium, we have no problem guaranteeing them for 3 years against everything except drought and vandalism.
- $80 - Tree Planting: Your tree is planted using professional techniques perfected by our experienced planting crew in order to give your tree the best new start possible.
- $345 - Total: This is the average total expense to have a tree planted by our company. Price will vary depending on the variety and size of the tree you choose. It's a small price to pay for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Here is a link to a list of approx. 250 types of trees we carry that are available for $200. We also have many other varieties available at different price points. In addition, we have a network of wholesalers who can source almost any tree you happen to be looking for.
If you have recently had a tree planted, below are the aftercare instructions for your new tree...
Tree Planting After Care
Young trees need adequate water to become established. Although rainfall may be adequate in some areas and in some seasons, additional water may be needed, particularly after planting when root systems are limited. After the initial watering at planting, trees will need water 3-4 times per week and every day during the plus-90-degree days of summer. We recommend using a water bag or ring during the dry seasons for the first 2 years. The water bag (20 gallons) will only need to be filled weekly or bi-weekly during the hottest part of the summer, eliminating the chore of daily watering. After 2 years, most trees can survive with only one or no irrigations, although they would probably do better with monthly applications.
It is essential to maintain an area free of turf and weeds around tree trunks, because turf and weeds compete for water and nutrients, and some produce chemicals toxic to other plants. A small turf-free area around a tree also reduces the need for mowers to come close. This clear area should ideally be at least one foot in radius. Larger areas add little benefit. After four or five years, tree roots are extensive enough that other plants close to their trunks are not a problem, although mower operators should still exercise caution.
A three- to four-inch-thick mulch, material placed on the soil surface, controls most weed seedlings. In addition, mulch protects the soil from compaction and erosion, conserves moisture, moderates soil temperatures, provides an all-weather surface for walking, and allows plants to root in the fertile and well-aerated surface soil. The mulch should not be added until 2 months after the tree has been planted so that it does not interfere with the root system obtaining oxygen. Keep mulches at least two inches away from the trunks of trees to minimize disease and rodent damage. A wide range of organic and inorganic materials can be used.
Pruning and Training
In years past, severe pruning after planting was thought to be necessary. However, newly planted trees grow quite well if they are pruned a little or not at all. The key to pruning is to encourage the growth of several large permanent branches, called "scaffold branches," that will ultimately form the basic structure of the mature tree. We do not recommend doing this pruning yourself.
Most trees get off to a good start, but serious problems can be avoided or minimized if the trees are periodically inspected. Inspect trees for the beginnings of insect and disease damage. At the same time, take care of any staking problems, check on tree moisture status, and identify any other problems. The inspection should take only a few minutes per tree, but prompt action on any problems encountered will pay big dividends in healthier, stronger trees.
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