Welcome to the 298th Metamorphosis Monday!
Shortly after moving into my home 22+ years ago, we planted a lot of Leyland Cypress trees on either side of our home to provide screening and privacy from the houses on either side. One side of my porch and deck is very private, the other side is kind of close to my neighbor’s home. I like my neighbors but there are times when it would be nice to have more privacy.
The Leyland Cypress trees did a great job for many years but eventually due to age and their huge size, they began to really thin out toward to the lower part. They still provided screening pretty well from the house next door as you can see in the picture below, but they didn’t look so great. As much as I hated it, they had to go.
I had them removed but with their removal, the house next door was suddenly super visible again. I purchased a couple of Tardiva Tree-Form Hydrangeas to help while I considered all my options for screening.
After researching the latest recommendations for the fastest growing and best trees for screening, I decided to go back with Leyland Cypress trees again. The reason I chose those is because I love how they look, they are super easy to grow and at 3 feet per year, they grow faster than just about anything out there for screening. The ones I planted before worked well in this spot for 20 years. If these do that well, I’ll be thrilled.
Cryptomeria was a tree that several folks recommended for screening but I don’t care for how they bronze in the winter. I know that’s normal for the Cryptomeria but I just don’t like how it looks. Also, my neighbor on the other side planted some along our lot line a few years ago and they are barely any bigger than when she had them planted.
I considered mixing in one Crytomeria for variety but decided to stay with what I know I love and what I’ve had success with in the past. I purchased three Leyland Cypress for the area where I needed screening.
Today I’m sharing a few tips for planting trees. Here in Georgia we have lots of red clay. You can see some of it stuck to my shovel in this pictures. Georgia red clay is unbelievably thick and sticky. When planting trees, shrubs or really anything in the area where I live, it’s really important to enrich the soil with a good soil amendment.
I purchased some that was especially designed for trees and shrubs. My tree-planting gear includes a good shovel, some heavy gloves, a cultivator for helping break up the red clay and a good starter fertilizer. Phone and bluetooth speaker for listening to books while you dig is optional. 🙂
When planting a tree, you need to dig a hole that is approximately 2 to 3 times the width of the existing container or root ball. That gives the roots a chance to grow unimpeded. The depth of the hole should be the same as the existing root ball.
To mark where I wanted each tree, I went all the way around the pot digging into the ground with my shovel, creating a mini trench in the dirt. If you have some spray-paint you could use it to mark off the area where you wish to dig. Just be sure to buy the type of spray-paint that works when turned upside down.
Once I had the hole dug the depth and width needed, I added in plenty of the soil amendment and mixed it into the dirt down in the hole with my cultivator.
Next I sprinkled in some of the starter fertilizer, following the directions on the package. Some starter fertilizers are in liquid form. The one I used was in a powder/granular form. Either will work fine.
I stirred the started fertilizer into my dirt and placed the tree in the hole. In this picture below, you can see about how much wider the hole needs to be than the root ball of the plant.
Next, mix soil amendment into the remaining dirt and fill in around the tree. Do not mound up the dirt higher than it was when the tree was inside the pot. The dirt should be even with the top of the root ball. Some folks even recommend leaving the root ball about an inch above the ground. I don’t do that. I’ve always had great success planting the tree where the ground is even with the top of the root ball.
If the tree you’re planting is a ball and burlap tree, be sure to cut away all of the burlap fabric from the root ball before placing the tree inside the hole. Again, you’ll only fill in the hole with dirt up to where it’s even with the top of the root ball.
Recently, I planted three Savannah Holly trees in my side yard. Since those trees were quite large (30 gallon size) I built up a little berm around the top of the tree to help hold the water when I hand water the trees. If you aren’t familiar with berms, a berm is just a mound of dirt that encircles the tree as pictured below.
A berm isn’t necessary but is sometimes helpful if you will be hand watering a large tree, especially a tree that’s planted on a sloped area where the water tends to run off before it has time to soak in.
Here’s how the Leyland Cypress trees looked once planted and mulched with pine straw. Always add some kind of mulch around your newly planted trees to help retain moisture in between waterings.
After your trees have been in the ground a few weeks, you may want to add a few fertilizer spikes around the drip line of the tree. Each time it rains, the spikes will release a small amount of fertilizer into the surrounding soil so you won’t need to worry with remembering to fertilize your newly planted trees. Just follow the package directions regarding how many spikes to use and where they should be placed around the tree.
If you’ve been thinking about planting some trees in your landscape, do it now. Fall is the ideal time to plant trees because the roots will grow all fall and winter and your tree will be well established before the hot temperatures arrive next summer.
I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.
Looking forward to the other Before and Afters for this Met Monday!
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