Although spring is a great time to plant trees, winter is the perfect time to start planning your spring tree plantings. An important place to start is deciding where you want to plant your trees and choosing the right species. This ensures that when spring arrives, you’ll be ready. If you fail to plan for the upcoming planting season, you may face some problems.

Any good planter knows early spring is a good time to plant trees, due to the fact spring planting allows trees to become established sooner, grow more, and prosper when the warm weather arrives. Planting in the early spring is even more important when planting bare rootstock. We’ve pulled together many tips to help you become a successful spring tree planter!

Spring Planting Tips

When transporting trees, it is important to protect them from wind, drying, and rough handling. The planting hole should be dug at least twice as wide as the root ball. The trees should be planted slightly higher than the depth of the container they grew in. Pockets of air should be eradicated from the planting hole through the process of watering and packing the dirt as the tree is being planted. Fill in the planting hole with nearby soil to help adapt the roots to its new environment.

It is important to never directly add fertilizer to the roots. Wait around a year before fertilizing, since the trees need to become fixed into the ground. Wood chip mulch can be added in a thin layer out over the current and future root zone. Don’t place plastic under the mulch and remember to keep it away from the trunk of the tree.

For a balled and burlapped tree, lift it by the soil ball being cautious not to loosen it. Remove all the twine, pull the burlap away from the trunk of the tree, and back from the root ball to allow the roots to grow into the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole around three-quarters full, wet the soil ball slowly with water, then complete the hole by filling it with soil.

When working with a container-grown tree set aside all containers at the planting location and make sure to treat containerized roots with care. If container-grown roots are circling around the outside of the root ball, make vertical cuts on the sides of the soil neighboring the roots, and a crisscross cut on the lowest part to cut nets of roots. Plant as you normally would a balled and burlapped tree.

Trees need a good amount of water throughout the growing season; watering throughout the summer is vital to a tree’s establishment. Short and constant watering stunts deep root growth, so a slow flow of water for longer periods at the base of a tree will provide you with the best results.

Be sure your trees don’t get infected by insects or disease during that crucial first part of the year. On tiny trees, caterpillars can be removed by hand. A good shot with a garden hose will assist with controlling aphids or spider mites. Frequent care and observation ensures you will have healthy trees.

If you follow the tips mentioned above, you are sure to have one of your most successful planting seasons yet. Remember, successful planting comes from proper planning.