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Question of The Week 11/25/2017

Question of the week! Have a query that needs to be answered? Send them our way.

Q: What is the best way to plant an aspen tree?

A: First thing would be tree selection. Trees grown in a nursery in a container will have a more complete root system than trees that are dug up from the mountains. These are wrapped in burlap because they are being pulled out of the root mass of a larger aspen grove.

Based on our 20 years experience of planting trees, particularly aspens, there is a slight difference in the way we plant nursery aspens in comparison with aspens dug up from the mountains.

When planting aspens in burlap, dig a planting hole that is slightly wider than the aspen’s root ball, but not any deeper. Planting an aspen too deeply can smother the roots and kill the tree. Place the aspen tree in the hole, unwrap the root ball, and tuck it into the hole. Since the root balls are small, this helps keep the root ball from falling apart which might cause the tree to die. The burlap will decompose in about 2 to 6 months.

If the aspens are potted, dig the hole about twice the size of the container and not any deeper. Turn the container on its side, support the trunk of the tree with one hand, and gently tap the container with the other hand to release the root ball. Place the root ball into the planting hole and gently finger-comb the root ball to separate any tangled roots.

After placing the aspen in the hole, amend the soil with mulch. I like using a soil mender blend and Yum Yum mix. Cover hole, create a basin, then water and mulch with either bark mulch, cotton burrs, or gravel to help prevent the tree from drying.

Aspens thrive in soil that is slightly acidic. Water deeply once per week to help your trees become established. The soil should feel damp to the touch.

We like to plant these trees in groups or clumps.

Aspens should be planted on the northern or eastern sides of your house, rather than sunnier areas.

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