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Planting a tree? Dos and don’ts for soil

lotclearing2-624x415-1-600x399If you’re getting ready to plant a new tree, there are a few soil-related rules to keep in mind to ensure that it will grow and thrive for years to come. The soil provides nourishment for the roots, so it’s a vital part of the process.

According to the Tree Care Industry Association, the following Dos and Dont’s should be adhered to:


  • Test your pH levels before you start planting. This is crucial to determine if you need to make any adjustments.
  • Select and apply the right fertilizer. The results of your soil test will let you know what type you should buy. The fertilizer should be applied before you plant, for best results.
  • Create a shallow ring of mulch as wide as the tree’s canopy.  This will help your tree retain water and will lessen the soil’s compaction, which can stifle the roots. It will also go a long way toward regulating your soil’s temperature. You should spread the mulch out evenly — and keep it at least 6 inches away from the trunk.
  • If possible, get a laboratory analysis. It’s not a mandatory step, but it does help to make informed decisions about your tree. A professional arborist will be able to tell you what the results mean.


  • Over-fertilize the soil. It may seem like a good idea to just pile it on as much as possible, but it isn’t. Over-fertilization can disrupt the pH balance of the soil and will damage the tree’s growth.
  • Change the soil level around the tree. Even adding a few inches will possibly smother your roots and cause rotting of the trunk.
  • Pile mulch near the tree. This could lead to disaster. Water will accumulate too much around the trunk, leading to rotting and other issues.

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