Few things in life can compare with the thrill of waking up on a bright, sunny morning and seeing that your tree is still standing. If you’ve gone through all the trouble to get one (and we’re not talking about sticking a shovel into the ground and calling it a day), chances are you want it to grow strong and healthy for many years to come.
Getting the perfect tree planter for your climate, location and personal tastes can be somewhat of a challenge. To help make the process easier, we’ve created this step-by-step guide with tips on how to choose the right one for you. Once you have all of the information, finding that perfect tree planter will be as easy as falling out of bed in the morning!
What is a tree planter?
A tree planter is a machine that automates the process of planting trees, which helps streamline the process. Although simple in design and function, it can be quite complicated to choose one if you’ve never used a plant spade before.
How to find the right one for your climate and location?
To get the perfect tree planter for your climate and location, you’ll need to consider several factors. One important factor is whether you want an above ground or below ground planter. Below ground models are better-suited for areas with heavy rainfall, while above ground units are great for drier regions or climates with winds that may blow soil away from newly planted saplings. Other important considerations include how much money you’re willing to spend on a tree planter and how much work you actually plan on doing.
Most plant spades have two different depths: shallow, which helps remove sod so it can be replaced after planting; and deep, which ensures roots get sufficient space to grow horizontally when they mature. If you live in an area with heavy rainfall you may want to choose a below-ground model the soil will likely stay moist beneath the spade. If you have strong winds, above-ground planters are more suitable for planting trees as the roots won’t be exposed to drying winds.
Types of tree planters
The next step is learning about types of tree planters. There are three main categories of tree planters: manual soil tampers; walk-behind tractors; and self-propelled models. Manual soil tampers are small handheld machines that pack soil around your new saplings manually with a tool similar to a big spoon or trowel. They’re easy to use, lightweight, and compact enough to help you plant in tight spaces without too much trouble, but they work best on grassy areas where there’s already loose topsoil and sod.
Walk-behind tractors are larger than manual soil tampers, but they help create a perfectly packed hole in one pass. They’re easy to use and efficient for large planting jobs, so if there’s an area you plan on planting multiple trees at once, consider investing in one of these. Self-propelled planters offer the speed and power of walk-behind tractors with the added convenience of doing all the work while you stand back and watch. They can be pricey, but this is by far hands down your best option if you want the perfect tree planter that gets results quickly and effortlessly without any hassles.
Tips on how to choose the right one for you
Lastly comes Tips on how to choose the right one for you.
Tree planting is hard physical labor that’ll leave your muscles aching and give you blisters, so choose a planter that’s lightweight and easy to maneuver. Tree planters should come at an affordable price point, but don’t skimp too much on quality either as this can lead to major problems down the road. If you plan on using the same plant spade for years or even decades to come, consider investing in a pneumatic tire model instead of a traditional wheeled one; while more expensive up front, they last far longer than other models so will actually save you money in the long term.
Tree planting tips and tricks
Tree planting isn’t just about grabbing a shovel and digging a hole. There is an art to planting that will get your tree off on the right foot and save you lots of time and money in the future by reducing failure rates. My goal is to put together some quick, easy-to-understand tips for new people looking to plant trees (and even old hands!) so they can install a survival rate at near 100%. I will explain why these steps are important, how to do them properly, and when these techniques should be used. Follow me down the rabbit hole.
Step 1: Know your soil type:
This one sounds simple but it’s incredibly important! The type of soil you’re working with determines what tools you can use, how deep you can dig, how tall the hole should be (for container trees), and many other factors. These are things I will explain throughout this article but you must first know what your soil type is.
There are three types of soils: sand (S), clay ©, and loam(L). There are also subcategories for each which change the characteristics of that soil type. Luckily, most people don’t have to worry about that because 99% of the time it’s just S or C.
Step 2: Know your tree’s needs:
This is a continuation of step 1 but it focuses more on the tree’s specific needs rather than the soil type. Look at the USDA zone map for your area and find out what tree species can handle that climate. Search for trees native to your area because they will flourish with little to no effort from you. If you want something exotic or unique then go right ahead, just make sure you’re ready for extra responsibility in maintaining it! Think about whether the tree likes sun or shade, how much water it needs, how frequently it needs fertilizer, etc. It’s also good to write down any diseases the tree has shown in the past so you can avoid those problems once it’s planted.
Step 3: Know your enemy:
This one is a bit of a stretch but so important I couldn’t help myself. The “enemy” here isn’t necessarily an animal or fungus or something creepy, it’s whatever you plan on planting the tree in! It could be grass, rocks, weeds. whatever you’ve got. Odds are if you know what type of soil you have then either S or C is present so there is likely some sort of obstacle between your roots and water. That obstacle can also include compacted soil which prevents air from reaching the roots so they suffocate and die eventually leading to plant failure. How is this enemy defeated? By removing all obstacles in the planting process! Grass needs to be mowed or removed before planting. Rocks need to be dug out, weeds pulled. anything between the roots and water needs to go!
Step 4: Know your pot type:
Some of you may have planted trees before in containers but I’m willing to bet that any more than 1% of you reading this have never planted a tree in a container so get ready for some fun facts! There are many reasons why one might want to plant in a container- the list is endless really. For me, it’s too cold where I live to reliably plant bare-root stock outside so I started buying potted plants. Since then my collection has grown quite large (seriously) and for me to continue my addiction, I must take extra steps to ensure their survival.
When planting in a container, it’s important to know the dimensions of the pot you’re working with because they play a major role in plant health. The roots need room to grow! This does not mean that bigger is always better but rather that the roots should follow an upward and outward gradient away from the trunk. If your root-ball (the mass of roots that come bundled with the tree) doesn’t have enough space for this then water will pool at the bottom of your pot preventing aeration and causing drowning injuries as well as organisms like fungus gnats to breed leading to disease. It’ll also lead to excess salts building up which can cause a multitude of problems including nutrient lockout (which means the plant can’t get the nutrients it needs to grow).
There are many types of pots, I’m going to focus on two- plastic and ceramic. Both have benefits and drawbacks, if you plan on planting more than one tree at a time then I would recommend either glazed or unglazed terra cotta. Terra cotta is porous which allows for faster drainage but will also dry out faster so it’s necessary to water often! Plastic is non-porous which means it stays wet longer but also holds too much water sometimes leading to root rot. If you put your finger in the soil of a potted plant, does it feel cold or warm? This can be used as a guideline for watering frequency since trees that are kept indoors will need more water than those that are outside.
Step 5: The planting process itself-
I’m going to assume for now that you have a seedling/small tree so the next few paragraphs will be about how to properly plant it in your chosen pot! It’s important to note here that there is no set time of year when one should plant trees because if well taken care of they can weather both hot and cold temperatures. If you plan on letting your tree grow for several years before cutting it down then maybe wait until winter which has naturally weaker root growth (and possibly smaller roots) but you’ll need proper insulation if it’s cold out or else you run the risk of killing the tree! However, spring is the best time to plant in my opinion. the roots are already well developed but not yet at their max size which means that they can easily grow into your pot when you give them a good home. Note that I said “good home” because if you choose a small pot then simply placing it in the ground will not be enough- it’ll sit too low and the exposed roots will dry out faster than the soil around them! This is why container trees must be deep potted or planted outside!
If you are looking for the perfect tree planter, then this article is just what you need. We have given all of the necessary information about planting trees in containers so that they can grow to their full potential. If you follow these steps, your plants will thrive and be healthier quicker than ever before!