“At the nursery we spend more time on the subject of planting trees than probably any other topic,” said Mike Gurney of Yankton Nurseries, 2000 Ferdig Ave. (605) 665-6560. “So, this is a basic run-down I give everyone on planting trees.” Gurney gives a starting point for more discussion as you plant your tree this fall.
• In many ways, September is the mirror month of May. Days are getting shorter, temperatures are cooler, and moisture stays in the soil longer. This makes an excellent time to plant a tree.
• Choose a container (potted) tree that is hardy, healthy and suitable for your location.
• Dig a hole as deep as the depth of soil in the pot, with enough width to work soil around the sides. Don’t add fertilizers, composts or additives of any kind to the hole.
• Remove the tree from the pot, taking care not to disturb roots. Do not cut, tease apart or spread the roots. Doing so almost always results in transplant shock. Smaller circling roots will not affect the ability for the tree to establish. Bad structural roots have already been taken care of at the nursery.
• Get the tree in the hole, fill in with reserved soil, water thoroughly to settle and check if you need more soil. A 1-inch to 2-inch layer of mulch prevents weeds and holds moisture.
• Do not fertilize a tree this late in the season. Be prepared to protect the tree with a tree guard. Stake a tree only as a last resort, using a proper kit, and do not leave it on for more than a season. Water as much as needed to keep soil evenly moist until the hose is stored for winter.
• Planting a tree can be an enjoyable experience. Get friends and family involved and enjoy the weather while it lasts!