Going Green: Planting a tree
Trees are excellent problem solvers of environmental issues, but in order for trees to actually help with these issues, it is important they are planted properly. YNN's Terry Ettinger shows us how.
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Trees are great environmental problem solvers, they can create shade to help keep people and buildings cool, they help control stormwater runoff and they help prevent erosion. However, in order for trees to help improve the environment, they have to grow properly and the key to good growth is digging the perfect hole to plant a tree.
"You have to dig a big enough hole. You always dig wide, not deep. It's much more important that you have at least twice the diameter of the root ball you're putting in the ground. You should have a hole at least twice as wide, and sometimes in heavy clay soils, you want it three times that diameter," said Dr. Charles Maynard of SUNY-ESF. "You feel ridiculous when you dig a hole that's the size of a bathtub to put a relatively small tree, but it really makes a difference."
Dr. Maynard said the wide hole cultivates the soil around the new tree, giving the roots a good opportunity to spread out and establish a firm grip in the existing soil.
"You've got to have the roots right at the surface when you're finally finished and the ground is settling and the tree is in its final position. The top most root should be right at, or even just slightly above, the surface soil," explained Dr. Maynard.
Trees planted in a bad hole can end up with roots spiraling back around the trunk, producing a very unstable tree that's easily blown over by the wind and even strangling the tree and killing it.
Dr. Maynard said, "Even such little things as whether you have very slick slides on the hole can affect the tree because of you slant the sides of the hole, you create what's called a rain gauge effect where the outside of the hole collects water so it puddles in the bottom and you can drown your tree."