Manhattan, KS- – Home gardeners wanting to add shade to their landscape should plan to do a little research in order to pick the right tree for their particular yard, said Kansas State University horticulture expert Ward Upham.
“Choose trees that are adapted to your location,” he said. “Consider whether the tree produces nuisance fruit, or if there are disease-resistant varieties available. And consider the mature size of the tree to make sure you have enough room.”
Upham shared ten rules for planting trees in a home landscape, including:
- Select the right tree for the site. K-State has a list of trees recommended for Kansas available online.
- Keep the tree well watered and in a shady location until planting. When moving the tree, lift it by the root ball or pot – not by the trunk.
- Before planting, remove all wires, labels, cords or anything else tied to the plant. Plant the tree on solid ground, not in fill dirt.
- Dig a hole deep enough so that the tree sits slightly above nursery level. The width should be three times the width of the root ball.
- Remove all containers from the root ball, including plastic and peat pots. Roll burlap and wire baskets back into the hole, cutting as much of the excess as possible.
- Backfill the hole with soil that was removed. Make sure the soil is loosened, without clods or clumps.
- Don’t cut back branches of the tree after planting except those that are rubbing or damaged.
- Water the tree thoroughly, then once a week for the first season if there is insufficient rainfall.
- Place mulch 2-4 inches deep around the tree, and cover an area 2-3 times the diameter of the root ball.
- Stake only when necessary; trees will establish more quickly and grow faster if they are not staked.
Upham and his colleagues in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources produce a weekly Horticulture Newsletter with tips for maintaining home landscapes. The newsletter is available to view online or can be delivered by email each week.