The best time to plant a tree was 20 Years ago the second best time is right now. This old Chinese saying gives us pause to think at this time when our thoughts are far removed from planting. If you're like me you have already started to receive and peruse next years garden catalogs. Its nice to look back over the past years or years plantings and reflect on what worked and what didn't . I started planting back in boy scouts and haven't stopped!
I was driving along mountain road a few years back and was surprised to see that a forest had grown where there was only marginal farm land in the early seventies.
There is much that can be done individually and even more that can be done locally . This is an age of local actions and global results. No one is going to pick up the shovel for you or locate the trees or find a suitable site!
I have given these key steps in reverse order intentionally, now we will review them in the order they should be placed in. Before you can plant a tree or trees you should always have a site plan. If you are planting in your own yard you may not need permission, if you are planing a public or common space planting you will have to determine who the proper person or persons are to get access. See if they have a policy in place and have a brief idea of the location you would like to plant in. Having a plan In place will help you to clearly articulate your intentions to the appropriate persons and make it easy for them to give you directions and prevent confusion.
You may want to plant alone or with a small group of helpers. Tree planting is a lot of hard work and is also a lot of fun. Selecting the right tree for your chosen site is very important. this would be he right time to consult your ISA Certified Arborist who will be able to help select the correct tree for your site. Once you have planted your tree make sure you have a plan for after care. Trees planted in yards typically have better soil conditions and nutrient levels then those planted in boulevards or along streets. Arborists are experts on local planting conditions and may advise you to have a soil sample taken to test for fertility.
The larger the tree you are planting the longer it takes for it to recover from transplant shock. The generally accepted rule is an inch of trunk diameter per year of recovery. For example. One inch in diameter tree, measured at 4 feet above ground, will take one year to reestablish itself and start to put on new growth , a two inch- two years and so on. The larger trees really give immediate visual impact but are harder to reestablish and more prone to failure. This is probably why the small trees I planted , only a few inches tall, survived without much help after being planted by unskilled pre-teens who struggled to handle a spade!
ISA certified Arborists are tree experts and the original tree huggers who have the Skill and knowledge to help make your planting a success. Reach out to your Arborist and get his advice on your planting project and success will be much improved. You may not be able to plant today but you will be able to plan.