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Planting Guide

Tree and Shrub Planting Tips

Container (Potted Tree) Installation:

  1. Dig a hole that is wider, but not deeper than the container.
  2. Plastic containers must be removed. When removing the container, handle the root ball carefully so that it stays intact. If the plant has heavy, thick roots circling the root ball, slice the roots with a knife in a vertical motion, but do not “pull apart all the roots” as with perennials.
  3. Carefully set the root ball in the hole. The top of the root ball should be set at or slightly above the ground level.
  4. Begin backfilling the hole with the soil you dug out. Amending your soils is fine. Use a simple garden hose and push it down into the soil around the newly planted root ball to soften the soil around it. "Slice" the soil around the root ball with a shovel to remove large air pockets from the soil. Finally, finish backfilling the hole.
  5. Mulch the tree with at least a 2' diameter circle that is around 1"-3" deep.
  6. It is recommended that you stake the tree for approx. 1-3 years. We use Arborbrace staking kits, you can purchase these from us.

 

B&B (Balled & Burlapped) Installation:

  1. Measure the root ball. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball, but shallow enough so that the top of the ball will sit about 2" above ground level. It is best if the ball is sitting on firm ground so that the tree does not settle.
  2. If the tree has a wire basket DO NOT REMOVE THE BASKET. If it bothers you, you can cut away sections of the basket once the tree is in the hole. We caution you to be as careful as possible, though, because any damage to the root ball can severely affect the life of your tree. (Added to note: Our clump and B&B Aspen trees have a "chicken wire basket" and these SHOULD BE REMOVED.)
  3. Carefully roll the root ball into the hole. Straighten your tree at this point, BEFORE you go to the next step.
  4. Before backfilling your hole with soil, remove ALL TWINE or STRING holding the wire basket onto the tree. We recommend removing the top portion of the burlap from the crown of the ball. You can cut away any other portions of burlap through the wire basket, but understand that our burlap is designed to disintegrate quite rapidly.
  5. Backfill the bottom portion of the hole so that the tree will not tip over.
  6. Begin backfilling the hole with the soil you dug out. Mix in 1/3 soil amending. Do not completely replace the nature soil. Use a simple garden hose, turn it on a light flow and push it down into the soil around the newly planted root ball to soften the soil around it. "Slice" the soil around the root ball with a shovel to remove large air pockets from the soil. Finally, finish backfilling the hole and pick it down.
  7. Mulch the tree with at least a 2' diameter circle that is around 1"-3" deep.
  8. It is recommended that you stake the tree for approx. 1-3 years. We use Arborbrace staking kits, you can purchase these from us.

Printable Illustrated Planting Guide PDF

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Mulching Tips

Mulch is ideal for establishing trees


Tree Pine Bark Mulch

Studies have shown that wood and bark mulch can almost double a trees or shrubs groth 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.

Where to place it:

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. 

Read more: Mulching Tips

Tree Protection

Protect your trunk


Protection from rodents:

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.

Protection from climatic extremes:

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.

Read more: Tree Protection

Fertilization Guide

When do I fertilize my plants?

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.

Plant Exposure

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.

Sunlight Concerns:

  • Typically in Colorado an area with morning sun and afternoon shade is one of the safest areas to plant.
  • Areas in Colorado with morning shade and afternoon sun provide the least protection.
  • In Colorado most plants that say they require full sun can still do great in a partial shade environment. Colorado's sun is very intense due to our elevation and most of the time our part shade is like most states full sun.

Time of Day:

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.

Read more: Plant Exposure

Soil Amendments

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.

Soil Amendment Facts:

  • Amendments improve the existing soil but are not used a soil replacement.
  • Soil amendments are mixed into the soil below the surface. Mulch is not a soil amendment because it is placed above the ground.
  • There are specific soil amendments for each type of soil condition.
  • There are specific soils for deciduous and evergreen trees.
  • Soil amendments typically aid in water retention, water permeability, drainage, aeration, and root stimulation.

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.

Read more: Soil Amendments