PLANTING TREES FOR THE FUTURE
It is generally agreed that planting trees is an important way we can care for the environment.
• Trees provide welcome shade, modifying our harsh climate.
• They maintain clean, oxygen rich air, counteracting the polluting effect of cars, fires and industry.
• Birds and animals visit our gardens for the food and shelter they find in trees.
THE FRAMEWORK OF THE GARDEN
As trees form the framework of your garden, and mistakes are difficult and costly to correct, careful choice is essential! Consider these factors:
• Avoid planting trees which drop limbs near buildings and car parking areas.
• Say no to trees with poisonous berries or other parts, especially if you have small children visit your garden.
• Falling leaves can cause a fire hazard, litter the pool and block the gutters. Plant deciduous or large gum trees away from the house.
• Some Eucalypts grow to over 20 metres and are unsuitable for suburban blocks. The SEC may require you to prune to control the height near power lines.
• Large trees may produce too much shade for lawn and other garden plants.
• Some tree roots are invasive and may damage underground pipes, or lift paving.
• If planting near your boundary, check with your neighbours to avoid future misunderstandings!
• Soil type – consider these factors: clay or sand, water availability and wind strength will affect tree growth. Choose species to suit your conditions.
• Choose the shape of the tree to suit. You may prefer a wide crown, a narrow tall tree, a weeping tree, or perhaps low branching.
Follow these steps to guarantee successful tree planting:
- After digging a hole twice the pot’s depth in sand or twice the width in clay soils, incorporate well rotted compost or organic matter into the hole. This aids water retention in sandy soils and improves the drainage in clay.
- Add slow release plant food to the hole, either granulated or tablet, to promote faster growth.
- Place the plant in the hole at the same level as the soil surface. A stake may be placed near the tree, using loose ties. The use of stakes is not essential, but in windy spots may help your tree settle in. Use good soil to backfill the hole. In sandy soils, create a saucer around the plant to direct water to the plant.
- Trickle water slowly into the hole while planting. Heavy stamping is not recommended as it compacts the soil and damages small roots. The soil around the new tree should be thoroughly wet.
- If planting in winter, the rain will water the plant for you. Summer planting requires daily watering for a month, twice weekly thereafter, unless very hot, when watering needs to be increased.
- Remove weeds, either by hand or using a weedicide containing glyphosate. Weeds compete with the young tree for food and water, and thus slow the tree’s growth.
- Mulch around the base of the tree to conserve moisture and reduce weed growth. Keep the mulch at least 5cms from the trunk of the tree.