The Q&A Archives: Planting new trees

Question: I live in the mountains East of Albuquerque and have tried planting some trees up there. I have tried Katalpa and Elm and nothing wants to grow. I have tried fertalizers, everything. Any suggestions?

Answer: The problem might be with the trees you have chosen, or it may be your planting technique. Here's a list of some of the best trees for Albuquerque:
Shade Trees: Bur Oak; Chinese Pistache; Kentucky Coffeetree ; Lacebark Elm.

Best Flowering Trees: Crape Myrtle; Crabapple; Desert Willow; New Mexico Olive; Gambel Oak; Chaste Tree.

Best Low-Pollen Trees for Albuquerque: Netleaf Hackberry; Chaste Tree; Pinon Pine;
Honey Locust.

Once you've chosen your trees, here's how to ensure success:
Dig a hole slightly deeper and wider than the nursery pot (or root mass if the tree is balled in burlap). Roughen up the sides and the bottom of the hole. Your goal is to create a space where the roots can venture out into native soil and to plant the tree at the same soil level as it was growing before. If you plant too deep the roots can suffocate; too shallow and the roots can grow above ground and be exposed to the elements. Once you're satisifed the hole is the right depth and width, lay the tree on its side and slide it out of the nursery pot (or remove the burlap and rope). Lightly loosen the roots so they are not growing around and around. Set the tree in the planting hole and backfill with the soil you took out of the hole. Gently tamp the soil down to eliminate air pockets, then water thoroughly to help settle the soil. It helps to make a watering well or basin when you're finished planting. Mound up a few inches of soil in a circle around the tree, about 12" from the trunk. Use this basin to water your tree. A newly planted tree should be deeply watered once or twice a week depending upon weather and how quickly the soil drains. Fill the basin, allow to drain, then fill a second time. Watering in this way will concentrate the moisture direcly over the root system and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root mass. Don't fertilize for the first year after planting.

Hope this information helps you succeed!

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