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One of the many investments we can make to better our environment is tree planting. Planting a tree does not only show you are advocating for a greener and healthier earth, but it also shows that you are taking a conscious step to bettering the environment in your own little way.  

As simple as planting a tree looks, there are guidelines to follow to make it successful. Unhealthy trees are a result of unsuccessful planting, so avoid wasting your efforts. There are guidelines you follow for tree planting to be successful.  

To have a healthy tree that adds to the beauty of the landscape, takes up greenhouse gas that is one of the major causes of climate change, and provides shades for relaxation, you certainly got to give it your best shot. 

Here are guidelines that will help you successfully plant a tree: 

Find the root collar of the tree  

The root collar is also known as the root flare. Putting the tree into the soil without first finding the root collar is an unhealthy way to plant a tree. As much as trees need water to survive, they also need oxygen.  

Many trees have died because the planters did not understand that the root collar of a tree has no business being too deep into the soil. When the root collar is deeply planted, it lacks oxygen and dies. 

Deep planting also results in circling roots which chokes and stops the tree from growing. It is important to plant a tree in the correct depth. So, your best option is finding the root collar before putting it inside the soil.  

The root collar is the base of the tree trunk that widens as the tree grows. This is why it is advisable not to plant it too deep into the soil to avoid choking it.  

Also note that a sapling’s root collar is not as noticeable as it is on a grown tree, but through careful observation, you will find it. 

After finding the root collar, dig the hole by measuring the root collar down to the bottom of the root ball. You are to do this to make sure the root collar is not placed inside the planting hole – it should be slightly above it.  

Broaden your planting hole 

The width of the planting hole should not be narrow. You are to make the width up to three times as large as the root ball. Have it in mind that you are making a saucer and not necessarily a pit. So, try to slope the hole and use a spade to roughen it up.  

Also note that the type of soil you are dealing with determines how particular you will be about sloping the planting hole, especially clay soil.

Place the tree in the hole 

While trying to place the tree in a planting hole, you must be careful of how you handle the root ball. If you are transferring from a container, make sure you remove the tree carefully.  

As you take off the non-plant materials, do it gently and carefully to prevent the root ball from falling apart. Trim if you must but do it cautiously or you might just end up planting a dead tree. 

Observe the position of the root collar to see it is sitting slightly above the soil level. While placing your tree into the planting hole, avoid holding the trunk. Do not drop the tree, but gently place the tree into the hole. 

It is important to look around the tree to see if it is rightly placed in every direction before filling the hole with soil. Because it is difficult to adjust the tree once you have covered the hole. 

Fill the planting hole with the same soil 

At this stage, many planters might be tempted to add fertilizers to the soil, but this is not advisable. The best thing you can do is to fill the hole with the same soil you dug out of the ground. Improving the soil is not the best option because the root might get used to fertilizers.  

And, instead of the roots spreading naturally into the soil, they will not. Fertilizers obstruct the growth of the sapling eventually.  

When planting on heavy soil, you should fill it up with heavy soil to prevent the root from drowning when it starts raining. Fill the hole with the same soil you dug out halfway.  

Use your shovel to break up every lump in the soil. After that, pour up to 5-10 gallons of water into and allow it to drain. This helps to remove the air pocket from the soil and fill up with the remaining left over soil and. Make firm the filled hole with your legs and hands. Pour another 5-10 gallons of water.  

Stake the tree if necessary  

Stakes are not necessary, but where the tree is located determines if it will be staked or not. If you are planting the tree in your back yard, you may not stake it. 

But if it is in a public place like parks or walkways, it is necessary to stake it. Stakes also serve as a support to help straighten the young tree until the roots are strong enough.  

Use mulch to protect the tree  

Mulching helps to protect the soil, discourage weeds and retains moisture in the soil. Planting a tree and leaving it unprotected is not the best way to go about it. Pour mulch of about 2-3 inches to prevent rodents and insects from chewing the bark of the tree 

Avoid mulching against the trunk because it will lead to rot, which can make the tree sick.  

Properly care for and nurture the tree  

It does not end with planting the tree, but to make sure that the tree is in attractive shape. A sapling needs all the nurturing it can get. Water the tree all the time, but do not go overboard with the water.  

The amount of water the soil needs depends on the soil type, rainfall, and temperature.  

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