SELECTING A TREE AND HOW TO PLANT IT
By Ed Sieckert, MS
Certified Professional Agronomist
So you have decided to plant a new tree in your landscape! There are a number of choices. You can view them in Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert at amwua.org. Visit a good nursery in the Phoenix area and talk to their tree specialist who can help you with your selection.
I am going to use one tree species for this example: the Palo Verde Desert Museum variety, multi-trunk, which is the State Tree of Arizona. It was developed by Dr. Mark Dimmit of the Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. A unique feature is that it has no thorns or pods, making it very suitable for the landscape. An abundance of yellow flowers appears each May which will reward you with so much yellow color it will enhance your yard.
Multi-trunk: Why should I buy a multi trunk tree and continue to prune and train it? Desert native trees normally have lower limbs close to the soil to help retain moisture. In the landscape, we must consider the health of the tree and its limbs. A multi branched tree will allow air to move through and around the limbs. A single trunk with a tall set of limbs is easily windblown and results in limb fall.
Selecting your Tree: Purchase a tree in a 24-inch container or box and have it delivered to your home and they will plant it for you. The best time of year to plant is September/October to let roots develop in cooler weather prior to winter. An alternate planting time is March.
PLANTING A TREE YOURSELF?
Planting is the most critical step in the life of the tree.
Step 1: Digging the hole
The hole should be 4 inches deeper than the container root ball. The width of the hole should be 3 to 5 times the width of the root ball to give the new roots a chance to venture and provide a strong root support for the tree when the winds come later in its development.