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Thread: Planting trees

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    Planting trees

    We bought 8 (yes, 8) Fat Albert Colorado Blue Spruce trees over the weekend - will be planting them this week and weekend, whenever it's not too soggy. The trees are about 4-5' tall already.

    I have not planted trees before. The general idea I got from the minimal research I've done so far is to dig twice the size of the root ball and backfill to give the roots some softer soil to grow into (soil being used loosely as we have a fair amount of clay in our property).

    These are evergreens and not too tall - so I don't think we'd need to put stakes and wire around 'em for support.

    Anything I should consider when planting these?



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    Re: Planting trees

    spent a summer planting about 2000 trees at ISU. Not fun after the first 2 or 3. You are right on for the hole. I also was taught right or wrong to make a burm around the tree and put a bag of mulch in it to hold in water.


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    Re: Planting trees

    You've got a pretty good idea already. It doesn't take too much to stake them, so I would definitely do this to allow the soil and root ball to settle completely.

    Never hurts to mix in a little slow release plant fertilizer into the backfill.



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    Re: Planting trees

    Make sure when you put the soil around the tree that you semi-pack the dirt because roots don't like air space plus it anchors the tree better. You can go to most garden centers in get tree spikes that are slow releasing fertilizer that you tap in with a hammer to just below the soil line that will give the trees a boost as well.



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    Re: Planting trees

    I have some tree spikes at home that I put in around our trees last fall. I didn't care for them because...

    - They break too easy.
    - They kill the grass (about the size of a baseball) where they go in and the grass around that grows at an insane rate.

    But, I have some and will use 'em again - just wish that wasn't a side effect.



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    Re: Planting trees

    I guess you just have to way the pros and cons then.

    Just might be worth it since the trees probably were not cheap, and you are going to want them to grow straight. One of those windy days in Iowa could easily shift a newly planted 5' tree.



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    Re: Planting trees

    I was referring to the fertilizing tree spikes.

    I'll give reinforcing the trees with stakes and wire a little more thought. Our 2 other larger trees are staked in - yet one is a maple tree that is around 14' tall and the other is a 6'-7' snowcrab tree.



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    Re: Planting trees

    I put some spikes in this Spring on my trees and I haven't noticed any grass dying or grass growing any faster. They say you are supposed to put them under the drip line of the tree because that is usually where the roots extend too. In this case you are just planting the tree the roots will only be the size of half your hole so just pound them down on the outside of the hole you dig, better yet bury the stakes as you backfill your hole then you solve the breaking issue as well as the grass issue..



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    Re: Planting trees

    You've probably already planned this or it's not an issue, but since I haven't seen it posted here yet...

    CALL BEFORE YOU DIG

    Make sure to get those underground lines marked off.



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    Re: Planting trees

    Working on that today. I don't think it will be an issue - but just in case...

    And, I'll be doing it the old fashion way - shovel. So I'm not overly concerned with hitting anything.



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    Re: Planting trees

    Won't these things just kill everything in their dripline anyway? I don't think the grass will matter.

    Otherwise, learn all you can and you can come plant my tree when I get around to buying one.

    Maybe I can hijack this a bit - I lost a tree and it took out a major portion of the main rootball. If I plant another will I have to do it somewhere else or can I plant it in essentially the same place?



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    Re: Planting trees

    also want to set the tree & root ball in the hole so the top level of the root ball sits about 3-6" above the level of the surrounding ground, which will bring the whole thing down to ground level through settling and not create a hole in your yard in a year...


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    Re: Planting trees

    Quote Originally Posted by rte4st8 View Post
    spent a summer planting about 2000 trees at ISU. Not fun after the first 2 or 3. You are right on for the hole. I also was taught right or wrong to make a burm around the tree and put a bag of mulch in it to hold in water.
    I remember in one of my hort classes at ISU they would put pics of the "volcano" mulch pile around ISU trees as an example of what not to do. Hole size is right on though.

    They also were not a fan of fertilizer tree spikes.



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    Re: Planting trees

    Here is our (Country Landscapes) planting and watering guide (formatted for printing, but should make sense when you view it--3 page brochure). Should give a good explanation of what we do and includes a detail of a planted tree. One key is the ball height--in poorly drained soil make sure to plant it high (3").
    Attached Files Attached Files



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    Re: Planting trees

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUFan22 View Post
    Working on that today. I don't think it will be an issue - but just in case...

    And, I'll be doing it the old fashion way - shovel. So I'm not overly concerned with hitting anything.
    When I was landscaping we basically only used shovels. We also made sure to mark the underground lines, but at least 2-3 times a month, we'd cut through electrical lines, cables, and every once in a while, irrigation lines. It's quite easy to cut into them.


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