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A Good Old Fashioned Tree Planting

green leaf plant on brown soil

Happy Arbor Day! Let’s do some tree planting.

Ever since I was a kid, I make a point to plant a tree on Earth Day. This year, my order of trees and shrubs from the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District wasn’t ready until the day after.

We live on an acre of land with a lot of older trees that are planted in soil, so they are big and they are leaning. Slowly we have to take them down before they fall down (and we’ve had that happen a few times over the past 6 years).

BUT! we never cut down a tree before making a point of planting or replanting multiple trees. I am really excited about this year’s haul!

Let’s get started!

We’ve got 2 types of cherry, 2 apples, 5 sugar maples, lilacs, and elderberry. The ACSWCD makes a point of selling seedlings, saplings, and bulbs that are all native to the area and are designed to help the immediate area, not just to serve as decoration.

Photo of tree saplings in bundles before planting.
Quite the haul!

I got straight to work planting them, as I didn’t want to have them sitting around any longer than necessary. It’s important to take a moment and plan out where you want your new plants; keep in mind some of them require certain spacing in between (e.g., elderberry needs good airflow) or specifically near other similar species (e.g., the fruit trees in order to promote pollination and fruit production).

We chose the elderberry to provide some privacy, especially in the winter when our Autumn Olive shrubs drop their leaves. And since we got rid of the ugly chain link fence last year, this is a necessity.

Photo of Elderberry seedling
The elderberry is hard to see right now, but it’s the plant that looks like a skinny stick coming out of the ground.
Photo of the street at the top of the hill.
Right now you can see straight up the hill to the road.
Photo of Arbor Vitae and Sugar Maple
Last year’s small Arbor Vitae and a Sugar Maple.

Spacing in general is an important concept, especially with shrubs like Arbor Vitae – it may be tempting to plant them close together, but remember, they will grow and fill out. Overcrowding will make pruning more challenging and might actually cause “bald” spots.

A row of baby lilac bushes
Lilacs spaced out to ensure plenty of room as they grown and mature.

As always, make sure you are watering daily and deeply to encourage wide and deep root growth. Good luck and happy planting!

Tree frog

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