The Q&A Archives: Being forced to plant a tree.....

Question: We just purchased a foreclosure and the HOA is requiring us to plant a tree in the front yard, but I've heard summer in central TX is not the time. And the tree has to be an this gonna work w/o killing the tree?

Answer: Oak trees can take your summer heat but planting one now will take a little extra care to ensure the roots become established, inspite of the heat. Dig a hole just slightly deeper and wider than the nursery container. You want the tree to sit at the same soil level as it is currently growing in the nursery container. To check the soil depth, just set the nursery container into the prepared planting hole. When you're satisfied that the depth is correct, lay the tree on its side and gently pull the container off, then set the roots into the planting hole. With any luck the root system will come out of the pot with the soil attached. Just set the root mass into the planting hole and fill in around the sides with soil. Tamp it down gently and then water well to help settle the soil. It will help if you can plant the tree in the early evening so the water you apply will have a chance to thoroughly wet the soil. By the next morning the tree should be well hydrated and will barely know it has been planted. To help the roots become established in their new home, build a watering well or water basin around the tree by mounding up a few inches of soil in a circle, about 12" out from the trunk. Water once or twice a week throughout the summer by filling the basin with water, allowing it to drain, then filling it a second time. Watering in this way will concentrate the moisture over the root mass and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root system. I think your new tree will be just fine.

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