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Tree planting Tips


Emerson said: "There is a best way of doing everything, if it be to boil an egg." If this saying be true, - and it fell from the lips of a sage, - how much care should be bestowed upon so grave a matter as the planting of a tree! Eggs are transient. Trees may taste immortality. Most trees in cultivation are moved one or more times, in the course of their careers.

This transplanting is the critical event in which many trees lose their lives. Yet it is not a difficult matter to take up and re-set a tree. Great oaks and pines are transplanted now with success even in midsummer by experts. Success in this work comes from following the few simple rules for transplanting trees that are given below:

1. Take up as many roots as possible. Only root tips gather food from the soil. Many of these feeding rootlets will be broken off and left in the ground in spite of our precautions.

2. Keep the roots from dryiny. Exposed to the air, the delicate root hairs shrivel and can never be revived. They are the mouths that feed the tree. Loss of a large percentage of these means starvation.

3. Have the hole dug deep and wide. The roots should have room to spread out naturally in all directions. To wind them around, or twist and crowd them in would mean to stunt the tree's after growth.

4. Trim to smooth ends all torn roots. The healing of a ragged wound is a long and uncertain process. A smooth slanting cut soon heals, and causes no further trouble.

5. Set the tree as deep as it was before. The time is critical. The former depth was right. You cannot afford to try now to teach your tree new habits.

6. Sift fine surface soil in about the roots. Holding the tree erect and firm, press the dirt close about the roots until they are covered. Lift the tree a little once or twice. This establishes contact between the roots and the particles of soil. Surface soil is richer and finer than that from the bottom of the hole.

7. Pour in water and let it settle away. This dissolves plant food contained in the soil, and brings a supply of it to each root hair.

8. Fill the hole with dirt, tramping in each spadeful. This provides for the food supply, and makes the tree firm in its place.

9. Prune the top of the tree. Transplanting prunes the roots, in spite of careful digging. The top must be reduced to correspond, or it will by transpiration overtax the maimed root system.

10. Water the tree frequently at first. Thorough soakings are what it needs, not light sprinklings. The roots need the water, and they are underground. Until they become established their thirst is inordinate.

11. Dig around the tree. Keep the soil loose to prevent its caking and cracking. Digging the soil above them trains the roots to go deep, and frequent stirring of the fine surface soil prevents the escape of moisture from below. After all, it is about as easy to plant a tree the right way as to plant it one of the many wrong ways. If it is worth while to plant a tree at all it is worth while to plant it well.