Site Prep Is Important For Trees

We will be the first to say that we remove trees on a daily basis. We are learning new things about trees daily and one we came across recently is how important site prep is. If it isn’t in the correct area, and the tree isn’t planted correctly we may have to remove it in a few years. However, we are not complaining, its what we do. The more tree removal business the better. We do however always strive for knowledge and want to share this great excerpt we came across.

Title: Trees, Shrubs, & Hedges for Home Landscaping

Author Jacqueline Heriteau

Site Preperation

The first step in site preparation is to ensure good drainage. Few trees and shrubs can stand saturated soils. To check the drainage at a planting site, dig a hole 24 inches deep and fill it with water. If the water is gone in 24 hours, the drainage is good enough. If more than a little water remains, consider planting species that tolerate poor drainage, or choose another site. If large portions of your site are poorly drained, you may wish to install subsurface drains–a major undertaking–or create a depression, or swale, or a mound of earth or berm, to divert the water. Raised beds provide well-drained soil for the subsurface feeder roots. Or you can plant individual trees and shrubs on individual, slightly raised mounds. 

In the past, planting instructions for trees and shrubs routinely recommended adding humus, to increase water retention, or sand, to improve drainage, to the planting hole. More recent research has shown that the roots of big woody plants set out in holes filled with organic-amended soil tend not to grow outward into the natural soil beyond the hole. Instead, they remain confined as if planted in containers. Mixing sand into the hole may actually decrease drainage and aeration in clay soils. Instead of changing the soil to suit the plant, it’s wiser to select plants suitable for the soil. 

However, special pH and nutrient requirements of some plants may require that you amend a planting hole or a bed. (See”Basics of Fertilization” on page 32.) For instance, rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurels, and other members of the heath family require well-drained, humus-rich, moist acid soil. In this case you can create a raised bed for several shrubs, with plenty of acidic humus and plenty of room for their roots. It may also be practical to amend the soil for hedges, if the plants are set in beds wide enough to contain their mature root system. (See”Hedges”,page 179.) Shrubs and small trees maintained in containers require improved soils, as described on page 33. 

The term acid, and its opposite, sweet, or alkaline, when applied to soil reer to soil pH. The pH of soil affects the availability of nutrients to plants, as explained in the chart on the next page. Most trees and shrubs do well in soils that are slightly acid to neutral, pH 5.5 to 6.8. Some, such as rhododendrons and other heaths, and some hollies and oaks, are among those that require an acid soil pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Lilacs thrive in near-neutral soils. Forsythia, beauty bush, osmanthus, and European beech (Fagus sylvatica) are among those that tolerate moderately acid to moderately alkaline soils, up to pH 8.0. 

Different species within the same genus may have different soil pH preferences. For example, American beech (Fagus grandifolia), unlike its European relative, grows best in acid soils, pH 5.0 to 6.5 Bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophulla) requires acid soil, but smooth and panicle hydrangeas (H. arborescens and H. paniculata) are pH adaptable and grow well in alkaline, as well as acid, soils. “

As you can see this offers everything from how the tree needs planted to what kind of pH the soil needs to be. We understand that most people are not out everyday planting trees. Most property owners aren’t even responsible for the trees that are planted in their yard, however if you have a tree that was planted or taken care of incorrectly we will be happy to give you a quote on getting it removed. Pleas call us at 615-900-2398.

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