In planting or transplanting a tree, and in building on a lot where you wish to preserve trees, gardener's chief consideration must be to protect root structure of tree. The big roots near stem anchor tree to ground, while fine root hairs at ends of rootlets absorb water from soil.
In planting trees, their mature height and spread must be considered before a selection is made. Tempting as are nursery catalogs, it is necessary to choose carefully, especially on average lot, because crowding spoils growth and appearance of trees, particularly specimen trees.
In general, it is wisest and most economical to plant young trees. Planting a mature tree is difficult and, if done professionally, costly. If, however, a mature tree is badly needed for a terrace or for screening, it may well justify expense. What you are buying is time it takes a smaller tree to mature.
Today you can plant trees when in full leaf with aid of new wilt-proof sprays that seal leaves against moisture loss until roots are established. This, however, costs money and entails greater risks than buying your tree and planting it in early spring( best time) or late fall or winter.
If you are planting a tree over 6 feet tall, it will suffer less setback if moved with a bur-lapped root ball. The soil preparation described in previous chapter is helpful for most tree and shrub planting. But since root system must have fertile soil when it is planted, special steps must be taken.
Dig a hole 2 feet deep and at least 1 foot wider each way than full spread of roots. The bottom of hole should be broken up with a pitchfork and thoroughly mixed with peat, leaf mold, loam, etc. Manure should be used sparingly and only on top of hole as it burns roots.
The deeper you can cultivate your hole, better for your tree. Once it is planted, you can cultivate around it but not under roots. If you strike a subsoil of building rubble or clay, which you are very apt to find anywhere near a house and in which a tree cannot grow, this subsoil must be removed and good soil, or better still, garden humus, substituted for it.
If you are planting a seedling that is not balled and burlapped, you will want to protect it by "heeling in" a vacant flower bed where it may be kept before planting as long as dormant. This means laying it on its side and covering roots with good soil. When you take it from soil, give it a mud bath or "puddle" it.