The Power of Shade Trees
Trees for Tucson provides planting and care instructions at the time when trees are delivered.
Here are a few additional tips for planting and care of trees:
- Plant trees as soon as possible after delivery. Do not let the soil dry out, especially during warm months.
- Trees can stay in the container for a week or two without a problem but must be monitored for water needs to prevent root systems from drying out. While tree is in the container water every day if temperature is 80 degrees or above, cooler days require watering every other day.
- Fall & Winter is a good time to plant trees in Tucson. If you will be away for more than just a few days, avoid planing in the hottest months (May-August) as trees require frequent watering in those months (daily initially).
- After planting, water the tree every day for the first week. Make sure the water is soaking into the root ball and not just running off. If watering by hand, build a small tree well three feet wide that allows 5-10 gallons of water to soak in. If it is on a drip irrigation system start out with two drip emitters that put out a couple of gallons an hour and run for an hour. Make sure the emitters are close emough to the trunk to soak the root ball.
- After planting, water the tree every day for the first week especially if the temperature is above 80 degrees. Make sure the water is soaking into the root ball and not just running off. If watering by hand, build a small tree well three feet wide that allows 5-10 gallons of water to soak in. If it is on a drip irrigation system start out with two drip emitters that put out a couple gallons an hour and run for an hour making sure they are close enough to the trunk to adequately soak the root ball. Initially, the water only needs to soak down a couple feet deep.
- After the first week or so you can star to water less but watch to see if the leaves droop or they lose their color or, worse yet, dry out. If so, increase the frequency of watering. In winter months much less watering is needed especially when leaves have dropped. Just don't let the soil get dry but at the same time it shouldn't be kept constantly wet or soaked. Just make sure it is damp an inch or two below the surface during cooler months when water needs are less.
- Though mesquite, acacia and palo verde trees are desert trees, they still need frequent watering until their root systems expand and can store more water. Desert willow, and red push pistache will need more frequent watering than mesquite, acacia and palo verde.
- Remember, tree limbs and tree trunk need to move in the wind to develop strength. If you stake the tree be sure to remove the stakes when the tree roots are stable in the wind.
- Frost will cause mesquites, desert willow and red pistache to lose leaves - this is normal.
IMPORTANT TREE PLANTING STEPS:
1) For five gallon-sized plants dig one foot deep and one foot wide hole and fill with water. If it doesn’t drain in several hours or if you hit caliche (hard, almost cement like material) when digging you may have to dig deeper or plant elsewhere to ensure adequate soil drainage.
2) Carefully cut the bottom off the container and then cut down one side but leave a little of the plastic attached to the side to hold the rootball in place until you get it in the hole (DO NOT pull the tree out or roll the container on its sides to loosen it). Carefully finish cutting the side of the plastic container and remove it. If the root ball was disturbed during planint the tree may lose its leaves. Keep watering daily and the tree should grow new leaves.
3) It is not necessary to amend the soil with mulch or compost. Remove rocks and chunks fo caliche and add soil from your yard, if necessary. If you do use mulch or compost put 5-6 inches on the surface (DO NOT PUT MULCH ON THE TRUNK OF THE TREE). You can place rocks in the basin around the tree to keep the soil from drying out. Do not compack the soil, let the water settle it.
TREE PLANTING, MAINTENANCE AND WATER HARVESTING INFORMATION RESOURCES:
In addition to providing low-cost trees for community planting projects, Trees for Tucson has a wealth of information regarding proper tree planting and maintenance techniques, desert-adapted tree varieties, and much more. Please see the links to the left for additional information resources provided by Trees for Tucson.
Tree planting and maintenance workshops are held several times per year, in partnership with the Arizona Community Tree Council. Instruction for planting and maintaining trees for maximum survivability are provided with Trees for Tucson delivery.
Additional resources are also available through the University of Arizona, Pima County Cooperative Extension Service at (520) 626-5161
For more information, call (520) 791-3109 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.