By Susan Posey | Palo Pinto County Master Gardener
In Palo Pinto County, planting trees in the fall gives them a nice long growth period to prepare for our hot summers.
Selecting a tree
Before buying a tree, there are several things to consider, for instance:
• What is the purpose of the tree: Shade? Spring or Summer bloom? Fall foliage? Winter interest?
• What is the mature height and width of the tree? Depending on these dimensions, there are right and wrong places to plant a tree.
• How is the root ball packaged? Is it container grown, balled and burlapped or bare rooted?
Those who know the purpose for planting a tree, but don’t know which trees are right for Palo Pinto County, can ask a favorite nursery or call the Texas A&M Agrilife/Palo Pinto Extension Office at 940-659-1228.
When choosing a location, consider the mature size of the tree, light availability and the area that the tree will eventually shade. The area must allow for healthy root-ball growth. Do not plant too close to a structure, power line, concrete driveway, street or in front of the home’s most important focal point.
Trees available at most local nurseries have been grown in containers.
This makes the tree easier to transport and reduces transplant shock.
However, the roots may have girdled, or followed the inside curve of the container. When the tree is removed from the container, the roots along the outside of the root ball should be gently cut to stimulate new outward growth. If girdling is not stopped, it is likely the roots will never establish proper spread and the tree’s life can be shortened.
A balled-and-burlapped tree has been grown in the ground. When the nursery digs it up, a ball of dirt containing the roots is kept intact by wrapping it with burlap and a wire cage. This wrapping must be protected during transportation and planting. When the tree is planted, the wire cage is removed, but the burlap can be left in place.