March 31, 2008

Bare Root Trees Are Easier Than You Think

Planting bare root trees is a fun and economical way to have lush green trees on your property without the higher cost of purchasing established trees. Although it is not difficult to do, it is important to keep in mind some specific guidelines in order maximize your chances for success. By following these easy steps, you can turn your brown thumb into a green thumb in no time.


  1. Carefully unpack the bare root tree from the container or material it came in. Be careful not to damage any of the roots during the unpacking process.
  2. Set the tree into a bucket filled with water. Allow the tree to soak for 4-6 hours prior to planting. This will allow the roots of the tree to soak up water and not dry out during the initial shock of planting.
  3. Dig a hole slightly larger than the diameter and depth of the tree and soil width. For example, if the tree roots and soil are 50 cm /19.6" wide, dig a hole 60 cm /23.6" wide to allow for maximum root spread.
  4. Check to be sure there are no large weed roots in the hole you have dug. If these are left there, they will compete with the new tree and might restrict its growth.
  5. Plant the tree so that where the roots meet the base of the tree. This is known as the "root collar" and it should be level with the ground. Placing dirt around the tree trunk above the root ball will cause the tree to grow in a way that will make it likely to fall over prematurely.
  6. Shovel the remaining dirt from the container. Add more if necessary into the hole, taking care to pack the soil firmly around the tree.
  7. Build a water basin around the outside of the tree. Give the tree plenty of water.
  8. Add a mulch area of a metre /5.4 yards wide and 5 cm / 1.9" deep around the tree base. Be sure not to let the mulch touch the tree itself.
  9. Water the tree again and again. Water it every two weeks, throughout its first summer.
  10. Stake large trees. If the tree is fairly large, it will need to be staked for a year. Hammer a metre-long (39") stake into the ground before planting the tree, at a 45 degree angle and for three quarters of its length, in a position so that the top of the stake is above where the tree is being planted. Then tie the tree stem to the stake with a rubber tree tie.
  11. Remove the stake after a year. After one year, the tree should be securely rooted, and the stake will hinder the tree's future growth. Remove the rubber tree tie, and saw off the stake at soil level. Be careful not to injure the young tree accidentally with the saw.


  • Try to gently loosen the roots of the tree a little bit before planting the tree. Roots that are constricted do not grow as well and are not able to provide as much water to the tree, something that is critical especially during the critical time the tree is first planted.


  • Be sure not to wait more than a day or two to put a bare root tree into the ground after purchase. If the bare root tree is not planted in time, there is a chance it can dry out the roots and kill the tree. If you can't plant it right away, cover the roots fully with wet sand or soil as a temporary measure.

Things You'll Need

  • A shovel
  • Some mulch
  • A watering can or hose
  • Soil
  • A bucket

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Plant a Bare Root Tree. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

March 27, 2008

Cherry Trees in Atlanta Make a Superior Showing

After a dry and dull 2007, it looks as if this year's growing season is commencing with a grand fireworks display. Yoshino Cherry trees are blooming in one of the fullest and consistent displays in recent memory. Just about any asian cherry cultivar or hybrid is glaringly obvious right now. Even the sides of normally drab highway buffers are sprinkled with lavender and nearly-white flowers.

The Yoshino Cherry is the famous tree species in Washington DC, common on US Capitol grounds and around the Library of Congress. In 1909 and again in 1912, the city of Tokyo sent thousands of Japanese cherries to Washington. It is known as Somei-yoshino in Japan, a hybrid of unknown origin that was first introduced in Tokyo in 1872.

Atlanta blogger Judi has a weeping cherry ornamental that is in the spirit too.

March 23, 2008

Pine Tree Looses Needles Early; An Apparent Impostor

In the late 1990's, upscale neighborhoods in the urban center of Atlanta began to treat their cell towers to a bit of camouflage. Imitation needles and branches were affixed to lifeless metal poles. One of the first towers to become 'green' was located at near the intersection of Briarcliff and North Druid Hills Roads. So realistic were the well fashioned duds, that commuters exclaimed that they never realized that such a big Pine tree sprouted up behind the Burger King.

Now, almost 10 years later, it appears that the tree has dropped its drawers prematurely. Exposed for the sham that it is, this is one Pine that now needs a little dressing up again. Or have the Pine beetles become just a bit too aggressive?

March 21, 2008

White Blooms in Atlanta

For those searching for information on white blooming trees in Atlanta, there are several showy woody plants that are flowering right now:
Bradford pear trees are finishing, and now starting to push their leaves.
Wild pears are still flowering.
Dogwood trees are beginning to open up their flower buds, but this will take at least two weeks to get going
Star magnolias are finishing up.
White flowering cherry trees are just starting to open their flower buds.

March 15, 2008

Tornado Appears, Damages Trees, and Leaves

A tornado touched down in downtown Atlanta, sometime between 9:30 and 10 PM, Friday night. As the city's residents go outside this morning to examine what happened, they may find that their beloved trees have been damaged or even toppled. So far the blogs and news sources are reporting that many trees came down onto houses and cars.

Like the tornado of 1998, north of Atlanta in Dunwoody, trees will need to be cleared from roads and taken off houses over the next few weeks. Many more trees, that are still standing, have suffered partial or non-catastrophic damage. All tree owners should take the time over the next week to examine their trees for the following:
- A new, or aggravated, lean
- Broken, hanging branches teetering in the tree canopy
- Large cracked limbs still attached to the trunk
- Broken roots near the soil surface
- Heaving or mounding soil near the base of the tree

If there is any question as to whether these failures are hazardous, a qualified tree risk assessor should be contacted to inspect the storm damage. Most practicing certified arborists can make a good call in these cases. Tree consultants at Onebark specialize in storm damage assessments. Member companies of the Georgia Arborist Association are a good resource for tree restoration services.

Trees that pose an imminent danger to people and essential property are always a priority for cleanup, and most tree services will be concentrating on making things safe, rather than cleaning up messes. Tree services have many customers that rely on them in emergencies. Those who have debris in their yard or that need branches pruned over low-use areas will usually be low on the priority list. If you have low-priority tree damage, be patient! It will all get cleaned up soon.

March 9, 2008

Pear Tree, Part 1

My son and I have been watching a Kieffer Pear tree around the 'hood. In a previous article I mentioned that this tree was to be our subject of study this year. The tree's buds have erupted.

The sepals and flower petals are clearly visible.

A few young leaves can be seen as well.

The creamy white color of the petals will develop within the next few days.

March 7, 2008

Greenspade Shovels Up Some Unique Information

Greenspade, a horticultural and tree blog, deserves a look. Although the author is not local, Atlanta tree enthusiasts will find the site interesting. The author, Chris Welch, puts a new twist on blog presentation by organizing article titles as horticultural definitions. If my explanation leaves you puzzled, then visit Greenspade and check out the format. The photography is very good. Graphic elements are pleasing.

Chris is an ISA Certified Arborist and urban horticulturalist.

March 6, 2008

Trees Fall, Drought Blamed Yet Again

The flurry of storm activity over the past week has focused attention on big trees - especially the trees that have fallen. News outlets have produced a stream of reports mentioning the damage caused by tree failures. The AJC, WDUN, The West Georgian, WXIA, and WGCL, all ran mainstream stories just in the past few days.

Because the drought is still in people's minds, it has become a catchall scapegoat for a number of tree-related problems. It is easy for people to grasp for a connection between drought stress and trees falling, but it is somewhat rash to do so without fully analyzing each case. Catastrophic tree failure is an event that involves the interaction of forces upon a very complex tree system. There are few resources and tools available to diagnose drought-related failures.

Of the catastrophic failures that I have recently observed in Atlanta, drought has not been the primary or secondary cause. Rather, each case involved serious structural problems such as decay. These problems predated the drought by many years.

Quick diagnoses of 'drought stress' will only confuse homeowners and could lead to poor and expensive decisions. Comprehensive evaluation of large trees is recommended prior to removal, and only by a person fully qualified in tree risk assessment. Hopefully, mass tree removal will not become the solution of choice.