Choose that tree and its site carefully before planting

Early spring or early fal are the best times for planting trees. Since they add beauty an comfort to your property, they are an investment and become more valuable as the grow.

By all means, plant a tree, but make sure you pick the right tree for the right spot in the landscape.

Some trees are a nuisance because they clog sewers, drop unsightly fruit, attract pesky insects, and break in the least amount of wind. The following list is representative of shade trees that could cause you problems. You're better off to avoid these now rather than to repent later while you're trying to enjoy the shade.

The box elder (Acer negundozm ) grows to about 50 feet, is short-lived, and attracts the box-elder bug. These pests like to make their homes out of the box elder.

Another fast-growing tree is the silver maple (Acer saccharinumm ) which reaches a height of about 90 feet. All to late, however, its planters discover that it is weak-wooded and the roots invariably clog sewers. Also, the silver maple is subject to fungi and insect infestations.

Avoid all species of the poplar even though they grow rapidly. They, too, are short-lived, clog sewers and drains, and sucker freely. The same is true of all varieties of willows (Salixm ), which have extensive fibrous root systems.

Borers, leaf miners, and other pests can cause much damage to the fast-growing but short-lived black locust (Robinia pseudacaciam ).

Although an attractive tree, messy fruit and brittle branches eliminate the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanumm ). For the same reason avoid the white mulberry, which suckers easily.

the short-lived catalpa, including several species of the speciosa, has long fruit pods, is messy, and can clog drains.

Many gardeners consider the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissimam ) a giant weed even though it can withstand extreme heat and grows just about anywhere. Yet the tree's growth and shape are very difficult to control.

The mighty elm was once on every tree planter's list as a solid choice for the home grounds. In fact, many communities considered this tree so hardy that just about every street had rows of elms stretching out to form a tunnel. But now, Dutch elm disease automatically puts the chinese (Ulmus parvifoliam ) and American Ulmus americanam ) elms on the list to avoid.

Climate narrows your field of choice, too. A tree species thriving in the South may not survive the rigorous winters of the North. And some species that do well in the North may fail to meet your expectations when planted in areas where the summers are long and hot. You can best avoid the risk of getting a tree that is not climatically hardy by buying from a local reputable nursery or garden center.

The National Arborist Association advises that gardeners consider the environmental conditions at the planting location when buying a tree. Environment includes available room for the roots and top growth of the tree (away from underground gas and water pipes as well as overhead wires), exposure to sunlight, soil conditions, and atmospheric impurities, such as soot and gases.

Further, tree species vary greatly in size at maturity, cautions the association. A mistake often made is planting a large-growing tree in a limited space. If you want a spectacular flowering tree -- a magnolia, for example -- remember that full sunlight generally is essential to blossom production.

Once you select the proper shade tree, your next step is to pick the digging site. Suppose you want to shade a specific location, such as your home, patio, or children's play area from the afternoon sun. Pick the digging site 10 feet south and 20 feet west from the location you want to shade.

Dig the hole to accommodate a full spread of the roots. Set the tree a few inches lower than it was planted at the nursery. If the site is clay, make the hole larger and spread garden soil (about 70 percent loose rich earth and 30 percent peat moss) as a base for the bare roots. To prevent root girdling -- roots which cross over one another and cut off the nutrients to the branches and leaves -- make sure you spread the roots out in the oversize hole which should contain enough improved garden soil.

The trunk and spread-out roots should set snugly on the mound for center support. Use a wheelbarrow or canvas for the excess soil.

Then support the tree with a 2-by-6-inch stake, which is driven between the roots and tied to the trunk. Fill the hole with enriched garden soil. Do not use fertilizer on the bare roots. Leaf mold is very good when mixed with the soil. WAter and refill the hole as the soil settles.

Remove all metal containers around the tree root.Then place the the entire ball of roots in an enlarged hole that has been lined with enriched garden soil.

Buying trees in bushel baskets, cardboard containers, or wrapped in burlap is perfect because you don't have to disturb the root system while planting. Simply dig the hole 2 to 3 inches deeper and wider than the burlap or basket. Eventually these containers will decompose. Fill the hole with improved soil and mound additional soil around the edge to form a basin.

Newly planted trees should be watered at least three times a week. Strong winds in the fall can dry out moisture which is needed when the soil begins to freeze. To avoid this evaporation mulch around the base of the tree.

Thinking you're fertilizing the tree roots while you're fertilizing the grass is a mistake most gardeners make. The turf uses just about all the nutrients. You should use about on pound of balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 marked on the bag) for each inch of trunk diameter four feet above the ground.

Feed newly planted trees only when new growth appears. Feed again in late June the first year Older trees more than six inches in diameter should get three pounds of fertilizer per inch of diameter.

Whenever fertilizing, always soak the ground around the base of the tree. Then, starting at the base of the tree, mark off circles around the tree every two feet until the last circle extends just beyond the outer branches. Next, make holes about 18 inches deep and 24 inches apart within each circle.

Use a small can container to pour the fertilizer in equal proportions in all the holes. Water and leave the holes open to permit the air to penetrate to the roots. Remember to fertilize every spring and fall after the first year of planting.

Prune a bare-root tree but not a soil-balled tree. With the soil-balled tree only remove any dead twigs, broken tips, or ungraceful crossover growth. Prune a branch back to the nearest bud that points in the direction you want the new growth to take. Cut cleanly just above the bud at a slight downward slant.

With a bare-root tree, you'll speed growth by cutting back branches about one-quarter of their length from the tips, but no more than that. Be sure to treat all cuts with proper tree paint; otherwise, you're inviting trouble from insects and diseases.

To prevent winter sun-scald injury or borer damage, cover the trunk with tree wrap. Start the wrap just above the roots and wind up to the lowest branch. The burlap or tape acts as a protective barrier until the tree is old enough to develop its own thick bark.

Getting satisfactory results from your tree planting depends largely on your knowledge of the tree species and the proper planting procedure.

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