First, evaluate the conditions of the soil, sunlight, and water in your yard. Most trees need certain conditions to grow and be healthy. You can consult our list of native trees here to find out more!
When you’re looking for the best spot in your yard for that new tree, keep in mind a few basic points. Avoid placing trees underneath overhead wires. Make sure you leave space around the tree so that grown-up roots won’t interfere with fences, house foundations, or other trees. In the same vein, make sure that young trees are well-spaced so they don’t crowd each other as they mature. You may want to plant a tree near areas where you anticipate wanting shade in the summertime – where kids are playing, or where you like to sit outside. Finally, make sure trees are at least 2 metres away from hard surfaces like patio stones or driveways.
If your soil is sandy or full of clay, make sure to mix in plenty of compost before planting. As well, if you’re on a new property or near areas that have seen recent construction, you will need to dig into your top soil. Construction in new subdivisions removes much of the topsoil, and not much of it is replaced. Make sure to dig compost in to the area surrounding the tree, as when the tree gets bigger its roots will need to spread out!
Here is a step-by-step guide:
Make sure to water your tree often. About three buckets full of water every couple of days will ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out in between watering. The soil should feel damp.
There’s no need to tie a stake, if the tree has been well planted. In fact, if the tree is allowed to sway it will help to develop stronger tissues. If the tree is more than 2 metres in height and young, you may need to stake it.
For the first few years of your tree’s growth, check the soil regularly and make sure it is always slightly damp. If it isn’t raining often, water the tree with three bucketfuls of water twice a week, or with the hose on a slow trickle for 15 to 20 minutes twice a week. Make sure you’re not overwatering. If water is pooling around the tree or the soil is extremely wet after watering then water less frequently.
Signs of disease will be visible to the naked eye. If leaves are discoloured, browning, or curled unusually; if the tree is experiencing defoliation; if the branch tips are wilting, then your tree might be diseased. Water and nutrients are the first step to remedying this, but if problems persist then consult a tree expert. If only certain branches are diseased, you can prune out the infected branches and make sure to remove them from your yard.
Yes! Try to maintain two to three inches of mulch around the base of the tree, without touching the trunk. This will especially help the tree to survive during winter.
For the first three years after planting, you should avoid pruning a tree unless it’s dead or diseased. After about four years, if any branches are rubbing against each other you can remove the rubbing branches. It can also promote a more balanced growth. Make sure the tools you use are sharp and clean, and don’t use wound paint to heal the wound – trees can heal on their own.
Many insects are beneficial, so identify the insect before you try to remove it. Many insects play a vital role to your yard’s ecosystem. If the insect is a pest and harming your tree, there are many options for controlling it. See our website’s section about threats to trees, or consult a local tree expert.