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Planting a tree is easy, but it does require the proper steps. The Johnston Parks Department shows how to plant a tree in six easy steps. Watch this video on how to easily plant a tree.
Step One: Select the right tree for the right location. This includes proper size, sun exposure, and soil type. It is also important to consider the mature size of the tree and give it room to grow.
Step Two: Be sure to call Iowa One Call before you dig at 1-800-292-8989. Allow for two business days for locates. Doing this will help ensure you do not hit any utilities when digging. Step Three: Dig a hole two to three times wider than the root ball and plant the top of the root ball one to two inches above the ground. Never plant the root ball below the ground.
Step Four: Remove the tree from the container and examine the root ball. If there are circling roots, cut vertical slits around the sides and bottom with a sharp knife and break up the roots by hand. This will help the roots grow outward as the tree grows, and not become birdling roots that can kill the tree.
Step Five: Place the tree in the hole that you have dug to ensure you are at the proper depth before backfilling. Lightly pack the soil around the root ball and ensure the top of the tree is straight. With the extra dirt, create a saucer around the outside edge of the hole to help retain water.
Step Six: Apply two to three inches of mulch to the backfill to retain moisture, keep weeds down, keep mowers, and string trimmers away from the trunk, and it insulates the root ball.
The Final Step is to water the tree thoroughly to allow the water to run out of the sides of the hole. Water the tree through the first growing season, one to two times a week depending upon rainfall. Remember; it takes a good one-inch rainfall to simulate a good watering.
Depending upon the location of the tree, it may be necessary to stake the tree. Be sure to remove staking material after one growing season, so you do not girdle the trunk.
As the tree grows, enjoy the shade and beauty it adds for years to come.