Matching a tree to your yard is a good idea. Matching your tree to the exact place within your yard where you want to plant it is critical. Avoid conflicts and ensure the long term health of your tree by following the below recommendations.
Pre- Planting check list
- Check above ground. Do not plant your tree where it will interfere with buildings, overhead utilities, pavement, intersection sightlines, or alley clearance as it gets bigger. Map out your yard so that you know what it looks like when you go to the store to purchase your tree.
- Check below ground. Call 811 at least 2 business days in advance of planting. Most services (cable, gas, electric, sewer, water) will mark utilities for free.
- Select tree location-- use the above guide for distances from conflicts. Make sure you plan for a mature tree.
Choosing your tree
- Determine your tree size based on the distances from conflicts above ground and below ground. Large trees need to be further from other trees and utilities, smaller trees can be closer. If you do not have adequate distance you will need to select a smaller tree.
- Check your hardiness zone. Most of Casper and the surrounding area is designated a USDA Hardiness zone of 5a. Outside the metropolitan area, the zone is a 4b. The zone lets you know the lowest temperatures your tree can handle. You should not purchase a tree with a higher hardiness zone number than your zone, however; you can go lower. For example, a fruit tree with a hardiness zone of 8 would not do well in Wyoming, but one with a zone of 3 would do well.
- Determine how quickly water drains from the soil. Dig a hole 18 inches deep and fill it with water. Let it drain completely. Refill it with water, and time how long it takes for the water to drain. If it takes less than 2 hours your soil drains very fast. If it takes 18 hours or longer, you have very slow drainage.
- Check your soil pH by using a pH meter (for sale at garden centers) or get a soil test (contact the University Extension Service at (307) 235-9400).
- Determine the sun exposure of the area. Is it mostly sunny, mostly shady, or partly sunny?
- Think about what desired features you would like. Do you want spring flowers, summer flowers, fruit, autumn leaf color, to attract birds, or shade? The desired features can help you narrow your tree search.
- Choose your root ball size for your tree. Smaller, containerized trees are easier for homeowners or those who do not have equipment to plant. Trees should be moved by carrying them by their root package, not the trunk. Do not buy a tree that you will not be able to handle. Balled-and-burlapped trees are very heavy and are difficult to move without proper equipment.
Planting Your Tree
- Call 811 at least 2 business days in advance of planting. Most services (cable, gas, electric, sewer, water) will mark utilities for free.
- Remove the tree from the container if a containerized tree.
- Remove soil from the top of the root ball until the root flare is exposed. This is the point at which the largest main root comes off of the stem.
- Dig a hole 2-3 times wider than the root ball and deep enough that the root flare is even or slightly higher than finished grade. If you put the flare below grade, this can lead to stunted tree growth and future death of your tree.
- Put the tree in the hole, make sure it is centered and straight.
- If balled-and-burlapped, remove the root ball packaging
- Backfill with the same soil. Make sure the trunk stays straight as you backfill.
- Water the tree.
- Put a 2-5 inch layer of mulch over the backfilled area. Pull mulch away from the trunk so that none touches the bark.