Where to plant a tree this fall…

Tree Siting Blog Article

It’s hard to believe that September is here already! With that, brings tree planting season. Fall is a great time to plant tree.

When planting your trees, remember to pay close attention to where you plant it to ensure that the tree can have a long, happy life in this new location. Often when we plant a tree, it is hard to visualize the full size of a tree, but remember, that small tree will grow into a much larger version. Plant the tree where it can spread its branches and live happily for many years to come.

When planting a new tree, think about what is all around the tree. Consider overhead powerlines, underground utilities, current buildings, any future construction that is planned, sidewalks, and the mature size of the tree.

When planting a tree, call the Digger’s Hotline at 811 to ensure there are no underground utilities near the location of tree planting. Remember, that the tree roots will grow, it would be best to give your tree plenty of space to grow without becoming too close to the powerlines to avoid future problems with the roots and the lines. If the utility company has to come in at any time to put in new lines this can damage the tree as well. Calling the Digger’s Hotline will also help so you don’t run into underground utility lines while you are planting. Never assume that the utility lines are deeper than you plan to dig.

Also, look at the above ground structures when you plant a new tree. Plant large trees at least 20 feet from a building to avoid damage to the building as the plant grows. Often, trees damage roofs, windows, and siding when the branches of the tree run into the building. If the tree won’t fit beside your home in the location you have picked, pick a different tree or a different planting location.

trees in powerlines

Trees growing in powerlines, Photos from John Fech, Nebraska Extension

Pay close attention to the location of power lines when planting a new tree. Plant your trees 25 feet away from overhead power lines to avoid damage to the lines or to help the crews of our electrical companies from having to send a crew out to prune the trees in the lines. This doesn’t help them to have to do this pruning all the time and it is a detriment to the overall quality of the tree to have a “V” cut through the middle of the canopy to allow for the powerlines. Smaller, understory trees should be used under powerlines to help the men and women who work for our electric company.

Once you have completed this evaluation of the landscape, you can determine the size of the tree that can be planted and from that, you can decide what tree you would like to plant. Don’t forget to look around your yard and the yards of all of your neighbors. Don’t plant a Maple if everyone else on the street has one in their front yard, pick something else. There are a lot of great trees that do very well in Nebraska environments but are not used enough such as Shagbark Hickory, Sweetgum, Pawpaw, and even a Linden.

This information came from the Nebraska Forest Service.

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Preparing for Spring Gardening

Yes, I said ‘Spring Gardening’, it will be here before we know it.  Our seed catalogs have already started appearing!  We can now start to think about gardening outdoors in the nice warm spring weather.  Anything that helps us look toward warmer weather and away from below freezing temperatures, the snow and ice that comes with winter, is a welcomed experience.  It is at this time of year that we can begin to prepare for a summer full of beautiful blooms and delicious gardens.  It is a good time to plan for spring gardening so that by the time we are ready to start our seeds or plant outdoors, we will have everything we need already, especially if you are ordering any portion of your garden plants.

Site Assessment

Photo of a site assessment from the National Junior Horticulture Association

A good indoor activity to do in the late winter months of January and February would be to plan your gardens.

  • Decide where the garden will be located
  • Locate gardens in close proximity to a water supply
  • Locate gardens where it gets the proper amount of light for the vegetables or flowers you plan to grow in that location
  • Make sure there is enough space for all of the plants to grow and they can be spaced apart properly, according to the directions on the seed packet or plant container
    • Plants too close together, can have problems with diseases
    • Air movement through the plants causing them to stay wet, humid, and warm, is the perfect environment for a disease to grow.
  • Locate the garden where the soil has good organic matter, fertility, and a good level of pH so that the garden is not too acidic nor to basic.
    • If you are concerned about the condition of your soil, you can send a sample into the soil diagnostic clinic
    • For information regarding soil samples, please visit your local extension office

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Beyond the location of the garden, you need to decide what types of plants you are going to be planting in your garden.  For vegetable gardens, plant what you like to eat.  Look through your seed catalogs to see if there are some new or different varieties that you would like to try that have different coloration than what you are used to or varieties that grow larger fruits.  Along with the selection of different varieties, select varieties that are resistant to certain diseases.  The disease resistant varieties are great to have because you will still get a crop when the conditions are favorable for a disease to occur.  When selecting these seeds you need to make sure that you are selecting varieties that will survive in our climate.  This is usually given to you as a hardiness zone indication, in southeast Nebraska we are in zone 5b for hardiness, further north in Nebraska is in zone 5a, with portions of the panhandle area being in zone 4b, the dividing line between zones 5b and 5a in Nebraska is roughly Interstate 80.

2013 USDA Hardiness Zone Map

I know that we are all getting excited for spring and would like to begin our seedlings indoors sometime soon, but it is still a little bit early for that.  Seedlings should be started indoors 6-10 weeks prior to transplanting outdoors, which should occur no sooner than Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014.  Stay tuned in late February or early March for my blog to feature tips on starting your seeds indoors.  Now is the time to order your seed so it is here when you are ready to plant it.