Arbor Day is this Friday, April 24. Few people can observe this day on Friday, however, due to work, school and other commitments. So, why not celebrate Arbor Weekend? Trees don’t care if they’re planted on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or any other day for that matter.
Make your Arbor Weekend a family affair. Look through books or on the Internet and get family consensus about what kind of tree to buy. It might be a good idea to agree on several choices because the planting area you select may not be suitable for your first choice.
Before you go to your garden center, do some homework. Take photos of the proposed planting area and take these with you to the garden center. Is the site in full sun all day? Full shade? Partial sun? Morning? Afternoon? Which way does the prevailing wind blow? Is it a high spot in the yard or a low spot? Is it close to structures? To walkways or the driveway? Or electric wires?
The reason you took that little test is to be sure you select the right plant for the right place. You don’t want to buy an expensive tree that likes full sun and then plant it in shade or partial sun. 0r a tree that needs lots of water on top of a hill or one that doesn’t like wet feet in the lowest spot in your yard.
These are all things that you need to check out before swiping your card. Many answers will be on the nursery tag attached to the tree. If any information you need is not on the tag, ask one of the horticulturists at the store. That’s one of the reasons why we recommend buying trees at local garden centers. They employ professional horticulturists who can answer your questions and help you select a good tree for your site.
Also, local garden centers buy from nurseries that grow plants for our climate. While a tree imported from the south or west may be hardy in our zone 5-6 climate, many are not acclimated to weather like we just experienced, and they may not survive.
When you get your tree home, follow the planting guidelines that we have shared several times. Dig the hole two to three times the diameter of the tree root but only as deep as the root. Place the tree in the hole and backfill, tapping down the backfill just enough to remove air pockets.
Take a break several time while backfilling and water the backfill. This will also help prevent air pockets. Don’t stake unless you absolutely must to keep the wind from blowing the tree over. For the first year, be sure the tree receives at least an inch of water either from rain or irrigation.
This will be a weekend well spent, and the tree you plant will keep growing year after year. Even when they’re grown up, your children will look up at that tree and remember the great time they had buying and planting it.