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Planting & Care Guide for Shade and Ornamental Trees

Planting & Care Guide for Shade and Ornamental Trees

LOCATION – Properly located shade trees greatly enhance the beauty of your home. Locate trees to give cooling shade (Reducing energy use and costs!) and to screen unsightly views or create privacy. Ornamental trees may be planted closer to the house and placed to display colorful flowers and fruit (or berries). Good drainage is essential for proper root development.

PLANTING – All balled and burlapped (B&B) trees should be planted as soon as possible to prevent the root system from drying out. Dig your planting hole at least twelve inches wider than the diameter of the root ball and 1” less than the depth of the root ball, that is, plant so the tip of the ball is 1-2” above existing soil surface. (except water loving trees like willows ,etc.) Ask a Brady employee for correct information on your type of tree. Do NOT remove the burlap or wire baskets (to do so might break the root ball). Both will decompose. Always cut and remove the rope around the trunk. Backfill your planting hole with three parts soil to one part compost. Gypsum is recommended to loosen heavy clay soil. Form a large soil berm or well around the edge of the planting hole to create a watering basin.

WATERING – Watering is vital when planting to settle the soil around the root ball. Water thoroughly and tamp the soil to settle it.  Add additional soil if necessary. Apply Fertilome Root Stimulator (to promote new root development) at planting and monthly thereafter during the first growing season. Remember, watering is extremely necessary the first year or two. If rain is insufficient, apply one inch of water each week during the summer (increase during very hot, dry weather). Let your hose run slowly at the base of the tree until the water has penetrated to root depth. You must physically check the soil to prevent over watering. Too much water may be more harmful than too little water (especially in heavy clay soil).

MULCHING – After planting and watering, mulch the entire root zone with two to three inches of cypress mulch or cedar mulch.  Mulch retains moisture and lowers soil temperature during the summer, promoting vigorous root development.

STAKING – Staking is recommended during the first growing season. On large B&B trees, three wires secured to anchor stakes should be used to maintain the tree in an upright position. Guy wires must be encased in rubber hose or plastic tubing where it is touching the tree to prevent damage to the trunk. Periodically check your guy wires to adjust tension.

PRUNING – Brady Nursery trees are individually pruned and staked during field production, assuring specimen quality.  Additional pruning is not required when planting.

FERTILIZING – Use Thrive (organic) or Fertilome Root Stimulator once a week for 8 weeks, then once a month for the first growing season. After the first season, use Fertilome Tree and Shrub food as recommended. Always water Fertilome Tree and Shrub food in well after fertilizing.

SPRAYING – If insect or disease problems are suspected bring in samples of the injury or pest to the nursery for problem identification and get the recommended treatment.


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