Studies have shown that wood and bark mulch can almost double a trees or shrubs growth in the first couple of seasons after planting. Each tree should have a circle of mulch that covers the area needed to dig the hole. In more idea situations the mulch can cover up to 4 times the area of the hole.
Weed and turf suppression in the root zone during establishment is essential. This can be accomplished by mulching or maintaining the soil around the root ball weed free with herbicides. We found that both resulted in the same tree growth and health! Organic mulches have the advantage of adding much needed organic matter to the soil.
Apply a 3" think (after settling) layer of mulch to at least an eight-foot diameter circle around the plant, or maintain the area weed free with herbicides, to help discourage weeds and turf. This area should be maintained during the establishment period at least two feet in diameter (preferable three feet) for each inch of tree trunk diameter (to encourage rapid establishment, minimum diameter should be eight feet for trees with a trunk diameter less than 3 inches). Apply a thinner layer of mulch over the root ball, for aesthetic reasons if you wish, but keep it at least 12 inches from the trunk (24" diameter mulch-free area) so the trunk bark can dry. This also allows rainwater, irrigation, and air to easily enter the root ball since it does not have to drain through the mulch. Mulch resting on the trunk and applying too thick a layer can kill the plant by holding water meant for the roots, oxygen starvation, death of bark, stem and root diseases, prevention of hardening off for winter, vole and other rodent damage to trunk, keeping the root ball too wet, encouraging formation of stem girdling roots, and repelling water if the mulch dries out.
Corrugated plastic protection tubes (sometimes called tree shelters) protect newly planted small tree seedlings from rodents, deer and sunscald.
Tree shelters can speed shoot growth of small seedling trees but some tree species develop weak trunks and small root systems and are unable to hold themselves erect (Kjelgren 1994; Burger et al. 1992). Trees can be enclosed in wire or mesh screening to keep out deer. Some horticulturists slice a 6 to 12-inch-long section of black plastic drain pipe so it can be slipped around the lower trunk. Others use plastic trunk guards which can be spiraled around the trunk and lower branches or other specially designed devices for trunk protection.
Wraps tightly secured to the trunk provide little buffering of climatic extremes, but they can provide some protection during shipping (Appleton 1993). Burlap and plastic devices are occasionally used as wraps.
In most cases it is not recommended by CreekSide to fertilize your plants at the time of planting. Research has shown that fertilization is ineffective because the tree or shrub does not have any roots yet that can adequately accept the fertilizer. Fertilization becomes effective once the plant has started to become established. Usually this is 3 months to a year after installation.
Sunlight and wind can really effect the area in which certain trees can and cannot thrive. The following will highlight how to choose the best plants for your specific exposures. We will also detail what to look for and what to explain to our staff when picking the perfect plant.
The time of the day that your plant receives sunlight can also be a factor when making your plant selections. Indirect light and heat is also an issue and should be looked at with a similar concern as direct sunlight.
When planting new trees and shrubs, soil is often a limiting factor for plant success. Colorado's soils are typically lacking in the nutrients necessary for a newly installed plant to easily succeed. The most common soil types found in Colorado are clay, sandy, and rocky. When you run into these types of soil you should use a soil amendment.
CreekSide Tree Nursery sells organic soil amendments. We recommend consulting with us on which specific soil to purchase along with your various plant choices. Our staff is trained to get you the right soil for the best plant success possible.