Trees can be a wonderful addition to any backyard. They provide a whole host of benefits when well cared for so they can grow and thrive. Trees provide shade and shelter from the wind. Some species can even be grown to build privacy barriers, which can be especially great if you don’t have a fence or just want something more beautiful to look at. Of course, trees don’t just magically show up in your yard. They have to be planted, and it has to be done right.
Before you even get started with planting your tree, you need to first know what size of tree your yard is going to be able to support. Trees can grow to be a variety of different sizes, depending on the type you get. And it’s not just the height you need to be aware of either. Some trees have absolutely massive root systems which can have an impact on other areas of your property as well. Tree roots have been known to damage home foundations, water pipes, and gas lines as they grow. Plus, roots have the potential to grow under walkways and sidewalks, which can cause them to lift and become uneven. Some areas may have restrictions on how tall trees can grow around houses, so make sure you look into that as well. All of this is to say that before you go and purchase a tree, it’s important to do some research to determine how tall they tend to grow and the size you can expect the root system to grow to as well.
Once a tree has been established and is growing strong, it tends to not need much in the way of maintenance. It’s far more vulnerable when it starts out though. Trees may benefit from being protected against wind and bad weather, at least for a time. You can use stakes to stabilize your tree against the wind, but avoid using them if the tree can stand on its own. When staking your tree, make sure that it’s not bound too tightly. Ideally, the tree should still be able to move slightly with the wind.
Pruning your tree can also help it grow well. When you remove parts of the tree, those parts no longer demand resources from the tree. That means that those resources can instead be used to help the rest of the tree grow stronger. It is possible to prune a tree yourself, but make sure you know what you’re doing first. Doing it wrong could do more harm than good. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to handle it yourself, hire professionals to handle it for you.
The soil around your tree is a huge source of nutrients. Making sure that the soil is rich with the nutrients your tree needs to grow will only benefit the tree. When you get ready to plant your tree, take some time to break up the soil in a circular area surrounding the place where you intend to plant. That will help the roots grow through the soil and avoid girding the area around the tree instead. If you’re not sure that the soil where you’re planting has the right nutrients, take a soil sample and have it tested.
Do some research to see what nutrients the tree you intend to plant needs so that you can take steps to enhance the nutrient content of the soil before planting. Don’t forget about the water content of the soil as well. Trees need access to both nutrients and water, and will do better if they don’t have to fight weeds for resources. Adding mulch can help. Mulch is a great way to improve appearances, while also improving the soil. It helps prevent weeds from growing and competing for resources by preventing them from getting the sunlight they need to grow. It also benefits the trees by insulating the soil so it stays warmer.
Trees, like all plants, need access to water and, as previously stated, nutrients. The good news is that a lot of these needs are satisfied by the contents of the soil they’re planted in, especially if care has been taken to prepare it prior to planting. Make sure you understand the water and fertilizing needs of your plants. It is possible to overdo it with watering and fertilizing, which can do more harm than good.
Trees thrive under a certain amount of benign neglect, though you’ll want to keep an eye on how much water they are getting. Supplement it by watering them if they aren’t getting enough from rainfall. This is part of why it’s a good idea to choose native plants, since they’ve already adapted to the conditions typical of the climate in which you live. Native plants will require less help and fewer resources from you in order to thrive.
Some trees do best under full sun conditions, while others thrive with partial sun. If you want your tree to thrive, you need to make sure that you understand its needs in terms of sun exposure and that you choose an appropriate location in your yard accordingly. Beyond that, trees should be planted a safe distance away from your home. Generally speaking, you’re looking at a distance of 10–50 feet, depending on the tree’s height at maturity. It may be beneficial to find out where utility lines are buried on your property and try to distance the tree from those as well.
Planting trees in your backyard can be a wonderful way to add greater beauty to your yard while enjoying the benefits they have to offer. You’ll need to put some effort in if you want your new tree to thrive though. Just picking any tree and plopping it down into a hole could leave you with a tree that isn’t able to grow with any strength, let alone survive. Make sure you know what it takes to grow a tree in your yard so you’ll be able to enjoy it for many years to come.
Read this next: How to Keep the Trees on Your Property Healthy
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