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When to Plant and Prune Trees in SC

When to Plant and Prune Trees in SC

Gorgeous views and plenty of shade are possible when trees are planted on a property. If there aren’t enough trees or some need to be replaced, it’s important to find the right tree and make sure it’s planted at the right time. Once the tree is established, proper care can help the tree last as long as possible. Read below to learn everything you need to know about planting and pruning trees in your South Carolina yard. 

The Best Time to Plant a Tree

The best time to plant a tree is when it’s dormant. This is typically during the fall and winter seasons. When the tree is actively growing during the spring and summer, all of its focus is on the leaves and flowers. There isn’t as much of a focus on the growth of roots. During the dormant period, though, there isn’t a focus on growing leaves and branches, so all of the focus is on the root system. By planting during the fall and winter, the tree has the opportunity to become well rooted before it starts growing again in the spring. 

It is possible to plant trees any time of the year in South Carolina, and the tree should thrive. The most important thing to consider is how the tree will be planted. After the right location is found and the tree is purchased, taking care while planting it can help ensure success and minimize potential problems regardless of the time of year. 

Trees to Plant in South Carolina

Numerous trees are popular throughout South Carolina, and the one chosen may depend on the desired view or other characteristics. Some of the top types of trees to consider include the following. 

  • Ash Trees – These trees are disease-resistant and tend to grow fast. They’re perfect for adding shade to a yard.
  • Cherry Trees – These trees look stunning in the spring and are available in a wide range of colors. They can be planted just about anywhere in the yard. 
  • Cypress Trees – These trees are perfect for areas with water drainage problems and can thrive in areas where other plants may have trouble growing. 
  • Fruiting Trees – A variety of fruiting trees will do fantastic in South Carolina. Along with providing a gorgeous view, they’ll offer fruit to be enjoyed. 

Spring and Summer Planting

When planting in the spring, it’s best to do so as early in the season as possible. However, it is important to wait until after the last freeze to prevent potential issues. If there is a freeze soon after the tree is planted, it should be covered to keep it as warm as possible until the weather improves. Follow all steps for successfully planting a tree during the spring months to make sure the tree has the best chance of survival once it’s planted. It is a good idea to water more regularly for trees planted in the spring to help them become established faster. 

Fall and Winter Planting

It is better to plant a tree early in the fall season instead of later during the winter. A freeze can be damaging to the new tree, so the earlier it’s planted, the more of a chance it has to take root before the weather gets colder. When planting in the fall, the tree is dormant, so it’s going to start growing roots first. If the planting is successful, expect to see new foliage appearing during the spring months. 

How to Plant a Tree

Prepare for the tree to be planted by loosening the soil in an area that’s around three times the root ball’s diameter. The soil should be loosed to around 12 inches deep. If necessary, add in compost or peat moss to improve the soil. A shallow hole is needed for the planting. The root ball should sit level with the ground or slightly higher.

Remove the materials from around the root ball and cut any circling roots on them. Do not let the roots dry out during this step. Place the tree in the hole and fill it with soil. Water the tree and let the soil settle to close any air pockets in it. Mulch made from bark or pine straw can be placed around three to four inches deep around the tree to help conserve water. Be sure the mulch does not touch the trunk of the tree. 

Helping the Tree Thrive

Once the tree is planted, it needs to be watered regularly to help it become established. Newly planted trees should be watered around once a week if there is not enough rain. Once the tree has become established, watering can be reduced to when the tree looks like it’s wilting or when the first foot of soil is dry. When watering, it’s better to soak slowly over a few hours. Avoid adding too much water to the soil around the tree, as that can kill the newly planted tree. 

Fertilizers can also be used to help promote growth and keep the tree as healthy as possible. It is not necessary to fertilize when the tree is planted. However, during the following spring, it may be beneficial to add the appropriate fertilizer to help the tree grow further. Read the application guidelines for any fertilizer before use to avoid using too much or applying it at the wrong time of the year. 

When to Prune Trees

Pruning trees is done not only to improve their beauty but to help them stay as healthy as possible. Excessive pruning shouldn’t be needed, and pruning should begin soon after the tree is planted to prevent issues as the tree grows. It is always best to leave pruning to the professionals, as there’s a lot that can go wrong if too much is cut or the wrong branches are trimmed. 

When pruning is done, any dead, diseased or broken branches are removed. It is crucial to know which branches should be pruned, though any branches that are a safety hazard can be trimmed as needed. These include any branches that are low over a sidewalk or growing too close to power lines. It is never a good idea to cut off the top of the tree to inhibit growth, as this can severely damage the tree. If growth is a concern, there are other ways to handle it. 

Pruning should not be done when a tree is newly planted. Allow the tree to become established so it’s as healthy as possible when pruning begins. It is recommended to have the tree pruned during the winter season or early in the spring before the leaves start to grow or it starts flowering. An arborist can provide detailed information on the best time to prune and how often to have the tree pruned based on the growth of the tree, its location, and other factors. 

If you’re planning on adding to the property with new trees, planting them properly and providing the right care after they’re planted is crucial. Niawki Tree and Shrub in Rock Hill, SC, and the surrounding areas is available to help with planting, pruning, and more. Turn to them for long-term tree and shrub care to protect the beauty of your yard and help your trees thrive. 

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