How to Properly Plant a Tree in Texas

There are a number of questions one should ask before planting a tree in the great state of Texas, with the first being, when is the best time to plant?

Ideally, fall is the perfect season to plant your tree. Planting a new tree in fall allows the tree to take root and flourish in the following winter and spring months. Roots will grow above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is sustainable for a typical Texas winter. Following the heat of summer, the ground is prime for planting trees in fall, setting a tree up for its initial growth period.

But, before you get to that step, first consider these questions to ensure you are planting the right tree, in the right location, so you know what to expect.

  1. Is your tree adapted to your area’s soil?
  2. Will it grow in sun or shade?
  3. Does it need a wet or dry location?
  4. How will it do in the cold?
  5. What will it look like in five years?
  6. Does it have any specific growing requirements?

If your new tree doesn’t come with these answers, ask your arborist or nursery professional for these details to help you get started off on the right foot.

When considering a new tree, you should also determine if the tree will have any functional purposes. Will it be depended on for shade or screening, and if so, will the desired planting location sustain that purpose?

Once you have in mind what kind of tree you want, know where you want to plant it, and have taken into consideration its growing needs, you are ready to plant your new tree.

How to plant a tree in Texas is pretty straight forward. Use these planting guidelines to ensure your tree starts off healthy and vibrant:

  1. When handling the tree, do so by the root ball and not the trunk.
  2. Dig a hole with at least six inches of clearance around the root system. Make sure the root ball is firmly settled on the soil’s foundation.
  3. Remove any container or covering and ensure the root ball is intact. A broken root ball could be a sign of damaged or dead roots.
  4. Plant the tree slightly above the surface of the ground to allow for settling and proper drainage.
  5. Backfill the hole with native soil only. Don’t use soil enhancements or fertilizers when initially planting your tree.
  6. Firmly pat down the soil and thoroughly water it to allow the tree to settle and fill in any air pockets.
  7. Do not fertilize your tree after planting. Wait until spring to fertilize, and do so sparingly. Heavy applications of fertilizer can burn, damage, and possibly kill your tree.
  8. Add four to six inches of mulch around the base of the tree to prevent weed growth and preserve moisture.
  9. Thoroughly water your tree daily for the first two weeks, then once a week when the tree is budding.

If you have questions about what tree is best for you and your environment, or have questions about planting a new tree, call Capitol Tree Care at (512) 913-6833.