PLANT A TREE IN MEMORY
Day is this Monday. It is the
special day set aside to remember American war dead. Certainly, this is a worthwhile way to spend a few minutes
on a day made to remember. Nevertheless,
too many American families live with the loss of a beloved family member every
Nothing eases the hurt. If you know someone who is suffering through this kind of
loss, give him or her a special gift of life. A tree. Any
kind of tree will do. Choose an
oak, for the day it will tower and spread sturdy branches for rope swings; or an
attractive flowering tree, a cherry or a dogwood, for its beauty; or an
evergreen for its constancy and dependability.
Show those who have lost loves that they can plant
a small thing and watch it grow, in memory of...
PLANT A TREE
Call the nationwide ''Call Before You Dig'' number,
811, to have your underground utilities marked before you dig. Simple digging jobs can damage
underground utility lines. If you
cut a line or disrupt service, you could be fined. So call to get your lines marked for free at least 48 hours
before you plant your tree. It's
the law in most states.
Water the tree in its container until the soil
is moistened all the way through the root ball. If it is a bare root specimen, set it in a bucket of water
while you dig the hole.
Choose a site that corresponds with the sun and
shade requirements of the tree.
Make sure you are not planting it under overhead power lines. This can lead to disfiguring pruning in
the coming years. Almost all trees
also need a site that is well drained.
Avoid any low area where water might stand.
Now that you know where your underground water,
electric, and cable TV lines are located, it's almost safe to dig. Check out where your sprinkler system
heads are located to get an idea of where those underground lines might
be. If you don't have a clue, dig
very carefully. I have been known
to open up a PVC pipe without a whole lot of force.
Now you can dig. To keep from ruining the surrounding lawn or border, lay out
a tarp and toss the excavated dirt on it.
An old shower curtain works well as a tarp, too. This makes it easier to backfill the
hole once the tree is in the ground.
Only dig the hole as deep as the tree is growing
in the pot. Placing the plant too
deep is one of the biggest reasons for the death of a tree (or any other garden
plant for that matter). Make the
hole twice as wide as the pot.
If the tree is potted, massage the roots to
loosen them around the sides and bottom and at the top edges where they tend to
tangle tightly. If you thought you
had watered the pot well but half of the root ball is dry, it probably is
planted in peat. In this case, either
soak the root ball in a tub of water or take a hose and use water to get rid of
the dry material. This also
loosens up the roots. Be sure to
get it in the ground immediately after doing this procedure. The roots cannot be exposed to dry air
If the tree is bare-root, check for broken roots
and trim off any pieces at the break.
Make a clean cut with a sharp knife or pruner. Get it in the ground right away.
the tree in the hole. Look at it
from all sides and decide which way to face it. Plant it no deeper than it was growing in the pot; most
trees have a slight flare as they go into the ground. Look for this flare on the bare-root tree. There probably is a soil line stain on
the bare root tree, too.
the roots are exposed, gently spread them in the hole and backfill soil under
and around them with your hands.
Once you have the roots well filled in, then you can shovel in the rest
of the soil.
used to be recommended that the soil be enriched before it was backfilled
around the tree. This isn't the
accepted practice anymore. It has
been determined that a tree will send roots out into the native soil quicker as
long as the soil right around the roots is the same. If the soil has been enhanced, the roots tend to stay in
that area too long, and start to circle, as if they were still in a pot. Just break up any clods as you fill in
up a small wall of dirt in a circle around the planting hole to hold water. Water the tree in the hole
thoroughly. This will settle the
soil around the roots so that there are no drying air pockets left behind. Keep watering the tree at least every
other day if there isn't sufficient rainfall. Water it deeply so that water reaches the bottom roots, not
just the top. If the ground around
the roots stays wet, cut back on your watering schedule.
the tree won't stand by itself, you can stake it. It should not be staked for more than 6 months however. The only way the trunk will strengthen
is by moving with the wind. Remove
the stakes as soon as the roots stabilize it.
the top of the root area, keeping the mulch away from the trunk. Mulch will help to keep down weeds and
keep the soil cool and moist.
Give a living gift. Watch it grow.