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Fall is the time to plant trees

October 05, 2009|By ROBERT KESSLER / Special to The Herald-Mail

Fall is a great time to plant trees. The soil moisture is adequate and the soil will stay warm until late November, so the roots have a couple of months to start establishing.

Before you shop for a tree, figure out where you are going to plant it, so you know if it will be in full sun or shade. Also know how big a tree you want when it is full grown.

When you pick your tree out, look for the root flare (the area where the trunk and roots join). This is probably easier to do on a container plant than on a balled-and-burlapped tree. If you are not sure of what this is, ask them at the garden center to locate the root flare. This is the part of the tree you want to have at ground level.

After you get your tree home, dig your hole so it is no deeper than from the bottom of the container at root ball to the root flare and two to three times as wide as the container or root ball.

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Place the root ball in the hole making sure it is properly placed, and then refill the hole with the soil you removed. Do not amend the soil before you return it to the hole. As you add the soil be sure to avoid any air pockets and firm the soil with your hand, not your foot. Water deeply when you finish and cover the area with two to three inches of organic mulch.

For more information, go to http://horticulture.psu.edu extension, then on the right side of the page click on publications, and then select the one titled "Planting Ornamentals."

Robert Kessler specializes in consumer horticulture and energy for Penn State University.

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