Planting a tree in Las Vegas is more or less the same as planting a tree anywhere else. Some special considerations with Las Vegas tree planting would be the handling of decorative rock during planting, amending the soil, and tapping into irrigation.
Planting Location and Tree Type
You want to make sure the tree you’re going to plant is a good fit for the location. Consider the characteristics of the tree; how big will the tree get, how thick the trunk, is it easily shaped, is debris going to be a problem, are the roots aggressive, etc. A tree planted in a poor location can be a big and expensive problem down the road.
What Size Tree To Get?
The smaller the better. Smaller trees are cheaper, less work to plant, and will aclimate to their new surroundings quicker. Smaller planted trees will eventually out pace a tree that was planted larger.
Planting Trees Over Old Stumps
Typically speaking, unless you are able to completely remove the old stump and rootball you will not be able to plant in the exact same location. Sometimes after grinding stumps from larger trees we are able to plant the new tree a little offset.
Inspect planting location, look for any potential hazards, clear area for room to work, gather and stage tools.
Move or rake back decorative rock. Leave plenty of space to dig the hole and stockpile dirt while digging. Doing so keeps the rock clean and allows for a better finished product.
Digging the Hole
Stockpile dirt into one spot, keeping decorative rock and surrounding area clean. You may consider laying a tarp or burlap to place stockpile onto. The hole should be deeper, and a larger diameter than the pot the tree is in. This allows for the addition of mulch to amend the harsh soil often found in Las Vegas.
Deep Root Watering
Place small length of pipe in the hole. The pipe should be just long enough to extend a few inches out of the mulch bed when finished, and just wide enough to allow a drip head to fit into it. Deep root watering helps make efficient use of water, amend the soil, and encourages roots to grow deeper.
Planting the Tree
Layer mulch in the bottom of the hole. Carefully remove root ball from the pot. Do not pull on the trunk or use as a lever or to hold the weight of the root ball. Place rootball in the hole. The top of the rootball should be level with the ground. Planting too deep or shallow will likely result in the failure of the tree. Lift the tree and add or remove mulch as needed. Fill in the sides of the hole with stockpiled dirt, mixing in mulch as you go. Pack lightly. Pay attention to make sure the tree stays straight as you fill. Fill to level with surrounding grade. Excess fill dirt can be piled in a ring around the tree to help establish the mulch bed. This will also help in case of any change in grade from settling.
Contrary to popular belief, staking is not good for trees. It stunts their growth, and prevents the trunk from growing properly with enough strength to hold itself up. If you must stake a tree, do so from as low as possible on the trunk.
Locate nearest 1/2 inch irrigation tubing. You may need to do some exploratory digging, or trace 1/4 lines back from nearby plants. Tap into the 1/2 inch tubing with 1/4 inch couplers, and run quarter inch lines to newly planted tree. If there is no irrigation nearby, you may have to run 1/2 tubing to the area. We typically install 3 drip heads per tree, placing one in the deep root watering pipe, and the other two on the mulch bed. Cover lines with dirt or decorative rock.
Replace Decorative Rock
Rake, shovel, or hand stack rock back into a circle around the tree. Leave the ground at the base of the tree exposed.
Fill the circle of rock in with mulch. Mulch holds in moisture, amends soil, provides nutrients, and stays much cooler than rock. You can use dyed mulch to better match your landscape rock. Leave drip heads exposed.
Test run irrigation to make sure it is working and there are no leaks. Pack up tools and leftover materials. Wash off decorative rock with hose as needed.
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