April 22 is Earth Day, and what better way to honor the planet that nurtures us than to plant a tree? Not only do trees make our outdoor environment lush and green, but they absorb the carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change.
If you have room in your yard to add a tree or two, the time is right. The best time to plant is from March 15 to June 15 or September 1 to October 15, according to experts.
Once you’ve determined the right species for your needs, follow these planting tips:
- Dig or rototill a hole that’s two to three times as deep as the root ball.
- Make sure the bottom of the hole is solid ground: If you place the tree on loose dirt, it will settle after watering, possibly ending up too deep in the hole.
- Remove the tree from the store container and place it in the hole, leaving the root ball about one inch above ground level. If the tree is wrapped in burlap, cut and remove the wire basket containing it and any rope or twine holding the burlap together.
- Firmly tamp down the original soil around the root ball to remove all air pockets.
- Generously water the tree and spread mulch to cover the area, keeping it four inches away from the tree trunk.
- Refrain from fertilizing during the first growing season.