Arbor Day is celebrated in Texas on the first Friday in November. In celebration of 14 years as a Tree City USA community, the City will be giving away free yearling trees at the Recreation Center parking lot on November 4, 2016 on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 8am. Limit is 2 per person.
Fall and winter are ideal tree-planting times as it gives roots a chance to settle in during the cooler months. Trees get a jump on the next growing season and are better equipped for the summer’s heat. This involves smart planting, plant trees you know you can water and maintain. This is an opportunity to plant drought-tolerant natives in your lawn or garden. Just remember, these future water-savers need some moisture while they establish. It’s especially important to keep an eye on them the first two years.
But dare we grab the shovel, given our drought conditions? Yes, if you can water properly, experts say. This is not as daunting as it may sound. All agree that a few gallons a week will keep a newly planted tree’s root ball moist. Although Duncanville homeowners are not currently under any stage of the water restrictions other communities are facing, a homeowner would find that even Stage 1 or 2 restrictions are more than adequate to keep one or two newly planted trees healthy and vigorous when watered correctly. According to the Texas Forest Service, a newly planted tree should be watered three times a week, depending on rain and drainage. With each watering, apply 5 gallons per inch of trunk diameter. For example, a tree with a 1-inch diameter trunk would get 5 gallons three times a week or 15 gallons a week. Weather and seasonal conditions should be considered as well in this equation.
Select trees that will adapt to the sunlight and soil conditions around your home. Consider the tree’s mature height and width so you can plant a safe distance from your home and utility lines. A shade tree that matures to 25 or more feet should be planted at least 20 feet from your home and utility lines. A tree that matures to 20 or less feet should be spaced at least 10 feet from the house and at least 5 feet from lines.
Following are some helpful tips to properly plant your new tree.
Dig a hole two to three times wider than the root ball and slightly shallower. The tree should be planted at or slightly above the original soil level. This is especially important in heavy clay soils to aid drainage.
Cut any circling roots along the outer edge of the root ball with pruning shears.
Pick the tree up from the bottom, not by the trunk, and place it in the hole. Hold while backfilling around the root ball with original soil from the hole. Tamp the soil lightly to eliminate air pockets. Break apart large clods before backfilling.
Remove any grass or weeds within a 3-foot-diameter circle around the tree and create a watering saucer.
Cover this bare area with 3 inches of mulch. Don’t pile mulch against the trunk.
Adequate water is essential at planting time. Place a hose at the base of the tree and allow water to slowly trickle until the soil is saturated.