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Planting with a Purpose: Tree Tips for Homeowners

For Immediate Release
For Further Information Contact Sonia Garth:
(217) 355-9411 Ext 217

Planting with a Purpose: Tree Tips for Homeowners

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Knowing when, what, where, and how to plant is essential to a tree's life span. And if you want trees in your yard to be assets that continually appreciate in value, keep these important tips from the International Society of Arboriculture in mind before, during, and after planting a tree.

  • Time of year - The best time to plant trees is during the dormant season, in the fall after leafdrop or early spring before bud-break. Weather conditions are cool and allow plants to establish roots in the new location before spring rains and summer heat stimulate new top growth.
  • Tree selection - Think right tree, right place. Believe it or not, many people don't take tree growth into consideration when choosing what species to plant. Think about how the tree will look 50 years from now as well as this planting season. Consider its mature height, width, and overall shape before making your final choice.
  • Site selection - Choose a location with the right soil, space, and light conditions for your tree. Will your tree need shade or sun? Wet soil or dry? What insects, pollutants, drought conditions, or other environmental factors might affect its long-term viability? Avoid planting large trees under or near power lines. Also remember that tree roots spread well beyond their branches, so pick a planting spot with plenty of room for underground development, too.
  • Let the planting begin!
    Proper planting techniques are critical to the life of a tree. All too often, people make their first and biggest planting mistake when they dig the hole that will be their tree's home. "Most of a tree's roots grow horizontally, so the hole needs to be wide," says ISA's Jim Skiera, Executive Director of the organization.

    A good rule of thumb is to dig the hole about three times the width of the root ball. The depth of the hole is just as crucial: dig the hole no deeper than the height of the root ball. "It's better to put a $100 tree in a $200 hole than to put a $200 tree in a $100 hole," Skiera says, because a properly prepared planting hole will help the tree's root system establish more quickly. "Healthy roots make healthy trees."

    Other ISA Tips:

  • Loosen the soil around the planting hole to give tree roots ample room to grow.
  • Straighten the tree in the hole before refilling with soil.
  • Fill the hole gently but firmly.
  • Mulch the base of the tree (no more than two or three inches thick).
  • After planting, keep the soil moist but not soaked.
  • Check soil moisture once a week (more often in hot weather).
  • Prune sparingly and only when necessary.
  • If in doubt about your tree's health, contact an ISA Certified Arborist in your area for help.
  • The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a nonprofit organization supporting tree care research around the world. As part of ISA's dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information, or to find a ISA Certified Arborist visit


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    "Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett


    Introduction to Arboriculture: Planting & Early Care DVD

    New Tree Planting Brochure

    Available through the ISA Web store

    © International Society of Arboriculture 2009
    P.O. Box 3129, Champaign, IL 61826
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