Thinking about planting trees on your property?
Prior to planting a new tree on your property here at The Hideout, it’s important to consider a few variables.
  1. The timeframe planting will occur:
Under ideal conditions, you would plant any tree during the dormant season such as in the fall after leaf drop, or in the early spring before buds start emerging. Outdoor temperatures are usually cooler in these times of the year and are more conducive in allowing newly planted trees to establish strong root systems at their new location.

Trying to transport and plant a tree during hot outdoor temperatures can be very harmful to the trees already stressed system, so its best to avoid this scenario unless absolutely necessary. If that is the case, extra precautions should be taken from the moment the tree is moved from the nursery until well after it has been planted.
  1. The new trees planting site:
It’s essential to properly evaluate the potential new home of your desired tree to ensure its success and that it will not be cumbersome down the road when it matures. Ask yourself:

Are there wires or lights above the planting site that may be impacted by future branches?

Is there enough space around the planting site to provide ample room for roots to grow unobstructed?
  1. The environmental conditions of your property and planting site:
If the planting location of your tree does not satisfy the minimum requirements the tree needs in order to survive, then the tree is destined for failure, costing you money and time wasted. Ask yourself:

What kind of exposure will my new tree receive? (High winds? Excessive sunlight? Excessive shade?)

Is the species of tree I wish to plant going to withstand the temperatures of where I live?
(USDA Hardiness Zone for The Hideout is 5b)

Image courtesy of https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/planting-zones/pennsylvania-planting-zones.htm and the USDA
 
Is the species of tree I wish to plant tolerant or intolerant to flooding and/or waterlogged soils?
Tree Species Tolerance to Flooding and Waterlogged Soils
Tolerant Intermediate Intolerant
Red maple
Black ash
Green ash
Black willow
Bald cypress
Balsam fir
Silver maple
Speckled alder
River birch
Hackberry
White ash
Honeylocust
Sweetgum
Sycamore/London plane
Cottonwood
Quaking aspen
Callery pear
Bur oak
Pin oak
Willow oak
White willow
Arborvitae
American elm
Norway maple
Sugar maple
Hornbeam
Shagbark hickory
Redbud
Yellowwood
American beech
Black walnut
Eastern red cedar
Tulip poplar
Saucer magnolia
Crabapple
Black gum
Hophornbeam
Norway spruce
White spruce
Colorado spruce
Jack pine
Red pine
White pine
White oak
Chinkapin oak
Red oak
Eastern hemlock
Linden
 
Informational table courtesy of Urban Trees: Site Assessment Selection for Stress Tolerance Planting. Urban Horticultural Institute. Cornell University. Ithaca, New York. (March 1998)
 
Is the pH of my soil conducive for the species of tree I want to plant?
Tree Species pH Requirement
Trident Maple 5.0-7.0, acidic
Red Maple 5.0-7.0, acidic
River Birch 5.0-7.0, acidic
Swampe White Oak 5.0-7.0, acidic
Pin Oak 5.0-7.0, acidic
Willow Oak 5.0-7.0, acidic
Freeman Maple 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Black Alder 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Serviceberry 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Sweet Gum 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Dawn Redwood 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Tupelo 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Accolade Flowering Cherry 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Sargent Cherry                                                             5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Sawtooth Oak 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Shingle Oak 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Northern Red Oak 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Shumard Oak 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Baldcypress 5.0-7.4, acidic to neutral
Hedge Maple 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Sycamore Maple 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Shantung Maple 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Norway Maple 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Red Horse Chestnut 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
European Hornbeam 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
American Hornbeam 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Sugar Hackberry 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Hackberry 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Katsura Tree 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Yellowwood 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Turkish Filbert 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Washington Hawthorn 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Hawthorn 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Winter King Hawthorn 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Hardy Rubber Tree 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
White Ash 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
European Ash 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Green Ash 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Ginkgo 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Honeylocust 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Kentucky Coffeetree 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Goldenraintree 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Osage Orange 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Crabapple 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
American Hophornbeam 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Amur Corktree 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
London Planetree 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Callery Pear 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Bur Oak 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Yellow Chestnut Oak 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
English Oak 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Blacklocust 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Korean Mountain Ash 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Swedish Mountain Ash 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Columnar Oakleaf Mountain Ash 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Scholar Tree 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Japanese Tree Lilac 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Redmond Basswood 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Littleleaf Linden 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Crimean Linden 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Silver Linden 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Chinese Elm 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Elm 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Japanese Zelkova 5.0-8.0, acidic to alkaline
Informational table courtesy of Urban Trees: Site Assessment Selection for Stress Tolerance Planting. Urban Horticultural Institute. Cornell University. Ithaca, New York. (March 1998)
 
Will the species of tree I wish to plant be tolerant to salt runoff from the roadway?
Tree Species Tolerant to Salt
Trident Maple
Hedge Maple
Sycamore Maple
Norway Maple
Black Alder
Hawthorne
Green Ash
Ginkgo
Honeylocust
Goldenraintree
Osage Orange
London Planetree
Sargent Cherry
Callery Pear
English Oak
Northern Red Oak
Blacklocust
Scholar Tree
Baldcypress
 
Informational table courtesy of Urban Trees: Site Assessment Selection for Stress Tolerance Planting. Urban Horticultural Institute. Cornell University. Ithaca, New York. (March 1998)
  1. Avoid certain tree species that will most likely not do well at The Hideout:
There are a few site-specific issues that can cause the early death of a tree here on our property. Some species you should avoid planting are:
  • Colorado Blue Spruce- This conifer just not a good match for our climate and is susceptible to a number of soil born pathogens
  • Norway Maple- Has the potential to overtake a forest stand, outcompeting native trees
  • Tree of Heaven- Is highly invasive and is the preferred host of Spotted Lanternfly (SLF)
  • Ash- Unless you obtain a variety that has been genetically modified to not be attacked by Emerald Ash Borers, native ash’s will usually perish.
  • Fruit Bearing Trees- Deer will heavily browse apple tree’s in particular, and with a strict no-feeding deer ordinance in place it is best to avoid any fruit bearing trees. Fruiting trees also hold the potential to draw in bear and other nuisance animals you do not want frequenting your property. The Hideout does not recommend the planting of any Apple or other fruit bearing trees throughout the community as their presence may hinder our deer management goals.
  • Pin Oak- This species of Oak is traditionally more of a pain than it is a pleasure to have on your property.
  1. Selecting and purchasing a healthy tree:
Weigh out your options, consult with a nursery professional or certified arborist, and determine what tree species is best suited for your particular needs and overall goals for your landscape.
 
Curious about all the benefits a mature tree of a particular species can provide to your property? Check out this link:http://www.treebenefits.com/calculator/ Think of your new tree as an investment as it can significantly reduce heating/cooling costs, aid in stormwater management, increase your property value, and improve the air quality around your household.

After determining the correct species of tree for your location, and having verified it stands an excellent chance at surviving given your planting sites characteristics, visit a reputable nursery and obtain a high-quality tree.
 Inspect the potential new trees trunk and branches:
*Look for shoots that display good vigor and health
*There should be ample branch spacing and good branch attachment
*There should be no wounds or injuries to the tree, nor should there be signs of insect activity or fungus
*Trees that are top heavy should be avoided as well as trees with codominant stems (however, codominant stems CAN be pruned, but this will create an injured area on the tree)
*Trunk flare and proper trunk taper should be readily apparent
Inspect the potential new trees foliage characteristics:
*Look for good, healthy coloration with no sign of insect activity or disease presence
*Leaves displaying sun scorch should be avoided as it is a sign of water stress
Examine the trees root and rootball characteristics:
*All reputable nursery’s should provide plants with a rootball of adequate size, ensuring the plant has high potential to establish itself.
*Test the strength of the rootball by gently rocking the plant back and forth. If it moves, then there is most likely a good connection of the roots with its corresponding shoots
*Opt for plants whose rootballs are wrapped with natural burlap. If possible and allowed, peel back the burlap to ensure the root tips are white in coloration and the root structure as a whole is not girdling the tree.
*If you are interested in a tree grown from a container, ensure the root tips are white in coloration and healthy, and that the root system is not kinked or girdling the tree.
*If the rootball has an excessive amount of weeds or grass growing out of it, its best to avoid.
               
Handle and transport your new tree with care:
*The goal here is to minimize any extra stress to the tree than you have to.
*Carry by the rootball, not by the trunk or branches. If you have an outside company doing the work for you, ensure this is done!
*Keep the provided burlap wrap or any other protective/packaging materials on the tree until it is ready for planting
*When loading, avoid dropping the rootball (this may be difficult given the weight, so plan your strategy in advance. If using machinery or equipment, take the time to pad metal surfaces that may come into contact with the tree at any point so as to reduce the risk of injury)
*More often than not, the tree will be transported from the nursery to your home in either the bed of a truck or in a trailer. Have the tree gently laid down as much as possible to avoid wind, and ensure the branches are cared for so they do not break. Cover the tree with a breathable mesh covering, not a heavy plastic tarp. This is to protect the tree from high wind speeds as the vehicle travels, and also from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Position the tree in the truck or trailer so that it will not move around during turns or when the vehicle stops or accelerates.  
*Once the tree arrives at its new destination, the same procedures and precautions should be taken for offloading it as were taken when the tree was loaded into the vehicle or trailer to avoid damage, handling the tree only by its rootball, not by the trunk or branches.
*Set the tree in a shady location and ensure it is well watered until it is to be planted.  
  1. Dig your hole correctly:
Depending on how much of a green thumb you are, you may take on the challenge of planting your new tree yourself of you may want to seek the guidance of experienced professionals. Here are a few key components to keep in mind to ensure your new tree is planted correctly, providing the best chance for it to start off its new life as best as possible.
*Dig your planting hole 2 to 3 times the diameter (width) of the trees rootball, but no deeper than the depth of the rootball
Image courtesy of Urban Trees: Site Assessment Selection for Stress Tolerance Planting. Urban Horticultural Institute. Cornell University. Ithaca, New York. (March 1998)
 
*Tree’s do not do well in significantly compacted soils regardless if they are old and mature, or are just being planted. To provide the best conditions possible, loosen or till the entire landscape area the tree is to be placed so that the trees root system can easily penetrate the soil as it settles in to its new home.
*If the soil is very moist due to recent rain events, you may want to hold off on your new trees planting as wet soil tends to become compacted very easily. Imagine how much walking you or the installation crew will be doing around the planting site, or if machinery is involved, how the weight of those machines will impact the soil.

         7. Prep the rootball for planting:

*Once you have your hole dug, carry the tree over to the site by the rootball or pot, not the stem or branches, and gently set it down next to the hole. Once verifying the hole’s width and depth are appropriate given the size of the trees rootball, peel back and remove all burlap. Discard all burlap, twine, wire mesh, and any other devices or material that was used to temporarily house the base of the tree. Additionally, remove any soil, especially if the root structure of your new plant was in a pot.
*Once the tree has been placed in the hole with all burlap and other materials removed you are now ready to backfill.
*If your soil type is loamy/sandy, ensure the trunk flare sits exactly at existing grade.
*If your soil type is more clay like/wet, ensure the trunk flare is about 1/3 of the ball above existing grade.
*NEVER put gravel in the bottom of your planting hole. It will cause a water table to form, essentially drowning your newly planted tree during periods of high soil saturation.
*If your tree is properly planted, it is unlikely you will need any supporting stakes or guy-wires. After planting, observe how your new tree is settling in and make fine adjustments as is needed or recommended.

           8. Backfill your hole:

*Always ensure the trunk flare of the tree is uncovered when backfilling! Place the soil you had initially dug up back into the hole and spread it around the rootball of the tree by hand, avoiding over compaction of the soil. Do not tamp down with any tools.
*You need not fertilize a newly planted tree unless you feel it is absolutely necessary. If that is the case, do so very lightly and only with slow-release nitrogen. This is rare and only under certain circumstances.
*Avoid planting when your soil is very moist as compaction potential is high during these conditions.
 
           9. Mulch:

*Use mulch to your advantage as it can provide numerous benefits to not only your new tree, but your entire landscape. Mulch, when installed correctly, makes the planting area more attractive, reduces mechanical damage to the base of the tree that is often caused by weed whackers or mowers, helps conserve moisture, controls weeds, prevents soil compaction, and helps increase water absorption and retention to just name a few.
*Many different options exist when looking at potential Mulch’s. You can buy organic, inorganic, and many different colors to fit your preference. Opting for an organic mulch is the most environmentally friendly, and your plant may reap more benefits by going this route as the mulch will be undergoing the process of decomposition throughout its life. If the soil in your yard is traditionally always moist/wet, it may be advisable to not mulch.
*Apply a layer between 2-3 inches, avoiding build up around the trunk flare of the tree, but sometimes a light layer is all that is needed. For younger trees, pull the mulch back 1-5” from the trunk depending on girth.  If mulch is left piled up against the trunk of a tree for extended periods of time could cause over saturation/moisture in the root system of the tree, leading to fungal problems. Oxygen exchange will be limited, not allowing the root system to essentially breath. Moisture loving insects and pests/rodents may also be attracted to these conditions, causing multiple issues to the tree.

            10. Protect your investment:

*Take the time to properly care for your newly planted tree, especially during its first few years of life on your property when it is most vulnerable.
 
*If your newly planted tree is located in an area where it may be impacted by high winds (along a field for example), you may want to assist its stabilization by placing two stakes on opposite sides of the tree, and attaching flexible ties. This way, during windy scenarios, the tree will be supported and not damaged.
 
 

Image courtesy of International Society of Arboriculture “New Tree Planting”. (2011).
 
*Install deer fencing around your tree. Deer will eat 5-9lbs of food a day that predominately includes the shoots, stems, and young tender leaves from saplings. The White-tailed Deer population in The Hideout is relatively high, so the possibility deer will target your newly planted tree is likely. Deer fencing should provide a zone of protection about a foot or two away from your tree.
 
*Monitor your tree closely, ensuring it is well watered during periods of hot dry spells, and that it is properly irrigated during the wetter months. The nursery from which you obtained your tree from should be able to provide you with an irrigation schedule that reflects the needs of the species of tree you obtained. Match the timing of tree watering to the weather forecast and soil type to avoid overly saturated soil conditions. Generally, two watering episodes per week for the first few months is typical.
 
*After the first season of planting, have your tree examined by a Certified Arborist to see if any pruning is necessary or if any other recommendations exist.
 
If at any time you suspect something may be wrong with your tree(s), do not wait to call a Certified Arborist to assess your tree and to help diagnose the issue(s) and necessary corrective measures. For some tree related issues, it may unfortunately be too late to correct them. If you take preventative steps to ensure your tree is properly selected, properly planted, and properly cared for, the chances of it not surviving are greatly diminished.
You do NOT need a Hideout specific permit to plant new trees on your property!  If at any time you suspect something may be wrong with your tree(s), do not wait to call a Certified Arborist to assess your tree and to help diagnose the issue(s) and necessary corrective measures. For some tree related issues, it may unfortunately be too late to correct them. If you take preventative steps to ensure your tree is properly selected, properly planted, and properly cared for, the chances of it not surviving are greatly diminished.