Flower Gardening

How to Plant a Tree (with a Wonderful Husband)

By Dona Bergman


A very long time ago, on a sweet summer day, my brother, cousins and I were all playing at our Mammaw’s house. One of my cousins came running up to her with a tiny branch clutched in his grubby, little hand.

“Mammaw! Mammaw! I bwought you a twee!” he exclaimed proudly.

Now Mammaw would rather “take a beatin’”, as she would say, than hurt a child’s feelings. So, she praised my little cousin and with great purpose and ceremony, stuck the twig in the ground in the front yard.

“There!” she said, “that’ll be a good place for that tree.”

And so it was – it grew to a lovely black gum tree (Nyssa sylvatica) and I swear to goodness, she never even watered it!

Start by doing some research

For most of us, planting a tree is a much more work and a bit more complicated – and not always in the manner we expect. We often make our first mistake when we see an interesting looking tree at the garden center. In the throes of Spring Fever, when we are really not quite in our right minds, we grab the plant with both hands, shove it onto our garden wagon and think “I’ll find a place for it somewhere!” Come on! Admit you’ve done that!

It works better if you do some research first. It also works better if you don’t ask your Wonderful Husband assist.

Assuming you don’t make an impulse purchase like I normally do, your first step should be to go out and look around your yard. Look up, look down. Think about overhead power lines and underground sewer, water and gas lines. Figure out about how much space the tree will have to grow; how much sunlight and water it will receive, and finally get on the computer and do some research on likely candidates.

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