Most trees are very easy to grow when planted right and in the right spot. Before selecting trees to plant in your landscape and gardens make sure to check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones to confirm it will be hardy in your area. 

Here's a breakdown of what you need to know...


Soil
With the exception of trees that like a boggy soil. most other trees like a well-drained, moist soil. On every plant page in Wilson Bros Gardens you'll find details under the 'Description' tab regarding soil preferences.
  

How To Test Soil Drainage  If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant your tree, it's well worth taking the time to test the drainage before planting. To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet or boggy conditions.


Soil pH
Various types of trees have different soil pH preferences. Under the 'Description' tab on every plant page in Wilson Bros gardens you will find soil pH preferences.


Testing Soil pH  Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, or whether or not it's suitable for growing the type of tree you're planting, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil SulfurAluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.




Light Needs
Various types of trees will prefer different exposures to light. Some like full sun while others prefer life on the shady side. under the 'Description' tab on ever plant page in Wilson Bros Gardens you will find sunlight preferences.



Planting Instructions for Most Trees


(Scroll down to see instructions for planting a tree on sloped ground)


TIP: Water the root ball deeply before removing your tree from its container.


Step 1
Start by digging your planting hole at least three times as wide and as deep or not much deeper than the root ball of your tree. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.

Step 2
Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area, and the needs of the specific soil preferences of the tree you're planting, it may be beneficial to amend the native soil. When planting your tree in dense clay or very poor soils it is often beneficial to thoroughly mix in some bagged top soil, sand, and/or a good planting mix at a 50/50 ratio with the native soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil you might want to consider mixing in some top soil, peat moss and/or compost to help retain moisture. When planting in fertile, loamy, well-drained but moist soil there is often no need for adding a soil amendment.

Step 3
To remove your tree from the nursery container it was growing in, firmly grasp the tree by the base of its trunk and try to gently lift and remove it from its container. If the root ball is stuck in the container either cut the container away or place the tree on it's side and gently pound on the side of the container to loosen the root ball. After having removed the plant from the container, loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. If root bound, you can spray the sides and bottom of the root ball with a stream of water from a garden hose. This will help to wash away some soil from the exterior of the root ball making it easier to loosen roots.

Step 4
If you are planting in well-drained soil set your tree in the planting hole so that the top edge of the rootball is at or slightly above ground level. If your soil drains slowly, holding water for an extended period of time after rainfall or irrigation, the top of the root ball can be planted several inches above ground level. If necessary, add some backfill soil mixture to the bottom of the hole to achieve proper planting height. 

NOTE: If the soil is poorly drained (constantly soggy or wet) plant the root ball in a raised mound entirely above ground level or select a different tree species more tolerant of wet soils. 






Step 5
After setting your tree in the planting hole, use one hand to hold the tree straight and your other hand to begin back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. If you are planting higher than ground level taper your soil mixture gradually from the top edge of the root ball to the ground level, as shown in the planting diagram above. To avoid suffocating your tree, do not put any soil on top of the root ball. You can place mulch on top of the root ball later. 

Step 6 (Optional)
When planting a tree in a location that is far from a water source you can use remaining soil mixture to build a water retaining berm (catch basin) around the outside perimeter of the planting hole. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall and irrigation often reducing the need for hand-watering. The berm can be removed after a year or so, when your tree has established itself.

Step 7 
Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development you can also water you newly planted tree with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.

Step 8
Apply a 1 to 2" layer of aged, shredded or chipped wood mulch or pine straw around the planting area to conserve moisture and to suppress weed growth. As the mulch decomposes it will add vital nutrients to the soil that your plant will appreciate. Do not use freshly chipped or shredded wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of your plant as this could cause the bark to rot.

Step 9
Larger trees may require staking to hold them up straight until they have established a root system that can stabilize the tree. You'll find tree-staking instructions at the bottom of this page. Tree stake kits are perhaps the easiest way to go about this process. You can make your own stakes from scrap lumber, however, make sure to consult with your local independent nursery and garden center professional about proper staking method. Usually, tree stakes can be removed after one year or when the tree has developed a strong enough root system.



How To Plant a Tree on Sloped Ground


The method for planting a tree or shrub on a slope, hillside, or embankment is different than when planting on level ground.

Here are some general guidelines for properly planting a tree on a slope in most average garden soils.

Step 1
Begin by digging a hole at least twice as wide and no deeper than the root ball of the tree. As you will need to create a berm to help retain water for the tree, place the soil removed from the planting hole just beneath the hole on the slope.

Step 2
Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area, and the needs of the specific soil preferences of the tree you're planting, it may be beneficial to amend the native soil. When planting your tree in dense clay or very poor soils it is often beneficial to thoroughly mix in some bagged top soil, sand, and/or a good planting mix at a 50/50 ratio with the native soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil you might want to consider mixing in some top soil, peat moss and/or compost to help retain moisture. When planting in fertile, loamy, well-drained but moist soil there is often no need for adding a soil amendment.

Step 3
To remove your tree from the nursery container it was growing in, firmly grasp the tree by the base of its trunk and try to gently lift and remove it from its container. If the root ball is stuck in the container either cut the container away or place the tree on it's side and gently pound on the side of the container to loosen the root ball. After having removed the plant from the container, loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. If root bound, you can spray the sides and bottom of the root ball with a stream of water from a garden hose. This will help to wash away some soil from the exterior of the root ball making it easier to loosen roots.

Step 4
With remaining soil mixture, or additional native top soil, build a water retention mound on the lower side of the planting hole. The amount of soil you will need will depend on the steepness of the slope. This mound should rise up several inches above the top of the root ball so as to retain moisture.

Step 5
Broadcast a granular shrub and tree fertilizer atop root ball at rates suggested on product label. 

Step 6
After planting, fill water retention area with water and allow to soak in. Repeat this process one or two more times.  For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development you can also water you newly planted tree with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.

Step 7
Larger trees may require staking to hold them up straight until they have established a root system that can stabilize the tree on its own. You'll find tree-staking instructions at the bottom of this page. Tree stake kits are perhaps the easiest way to go about this process. You can make your own stakes from scrap lumber. Tree stakes can be removed after one year or when the tree has developed a strong enough root system.

Step 8
To retain adequate moisture, apply a 2-3" layer of shredded wood mulch, or a 5-6" layer pine straw, to a distance of 2-3 feet from trunk of tree, or just beyond water retaining ring. Do not allow the mulch to come into direct contact with the trunk of the tree.



How To Stake a Newly Planted Tree

Single Stake Method
For smaller trees, use one long stake driven firmly into the ground so that it crosses the trunk of the tree at an angle a foot or two above the ground (depending on height of tree). Use a piece of cloth or a section of rubber water hose to tie trunk loosely against the stake. Avoid using metal wire as this couple damage the bark of your tree.







Staking Tree Triple Method
For taller trees, you can drive three 18-inch long stakes at a 45 degree angle into the ground to a point where 4 to 6 inches of the stake remains above ground. Equally space these stakes around the tree in solid ground. Use wire or nylon string to tie from the stake to the tree. Where the wire or string will come into contact with the trunk of your tree, make sure to run the string or wire through rubber hosing to protect the bark. More on that just below.






Tie your wire or string to the trunk of the tree above branch so that it does not slide down the trunk. To prevent damage to the bark of your tree, rubber hosepipe should be used where the wire touches the stem or branches.







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