Tips Summer 2013

TIPS   |   ABOUT US   |   Find a Tree Care Company |  CONTACT   

This book from the Forest Service, intended primarily for 1st to 3rd graders, features tips for planting a tree through fun full-color, hand-painted illustrations. Learn more.
Featured Photos

  Boston Strong!  

Boston Common     

TCIA member companies around the country donated their time and expertise to clean up local parks, schools, and other locations for 
Arbor Day 2013.

A special thanks to the companies who worked on the Boston Common on 
April 26. Learn more here. 
Looking for a Mother's Day Gift? 


Instead of flowers this year, why not plant a tree this year for Mother's Day? The gift keeps on giving - to both your family and to the environment!


But before you plant, here are a few quick tips to help your new tree live a long time:

  • Get a good quality tree from a reputable nursery  
  • Carefully remove soil from the top of the rootball until you reach the first large lateral root.  You may need to remove a couple inches or so to do this.  
  • Dig the hole just deep enough to allow the first structural root to be at level grade. The hole's diameter should be two to three times the diameter of the root ball or root spread.  
  • Set the tree on undisturbed solid ground in the center of the hole. The tree should be planted so that the root flare, the base of the tree trunk where the roots begin to "flare-out," is visible and above grade.  
  • Backfill with soil from the planting hole, using water  settle the soil around the root ball. Do not tamp soil by stepping on it.  
  • Mulch the planting area with 2 to 4 inches of an organic mulch such as wood chips. Do not mulch up to or against the trunk. Start the mulch 6 inches away from the tree trunk.  
  • Stake and/or protect the trunk of the tree if there is a real potential for wind damage or lawn mower injury. Remove the guy wires (string, rope, wire or other used with supports) when the staking is no longer needed or the tree could be injured or even killed from girdling by the wire.  
  • One to three years after planting, prune to develop a good branch structure once the tree has become established in its new home, usually 1-3 years after planting. Never remove more than 25 percent of total foliage in one year. (Depending on the tree and its condition, some arborists advocate capping pruning at even a lower percentage.)  
  • Fertilizing is not recommended at the time of planting.
If unsure about these steps, contact a qualified arborist in your area. Find one here. 


Ask the Arborist


Do you have a question about your trees, shrubs, or landscape? Email us!


Protect trees when making soil grade changes.
Does it hurt a tree to have additional soil, 3-4', permanently piled up around it's trunk? 
A. Thanks for your inquiry. Trees are living, growing, changing biota and do not tolerate drastic changes to their environment... so the short answer to your question is, yes. Without a doubt, your tree will decline and die with any more than a couple of inches of soil placed over its root zone. It might take a few months, or it could take a few years, but covering the rootzone will suffocate the tree.


There are ways around this, though, where you can raise the grade and keep the tree relatively healthy. You will need an onsite examination from a professional tree expert. Find one in your area here


Find a tree care company

Thanks for subscribing to TCIA's Tree Care Tips Consumer Newsletter, which seeks to provide you with information about caring for your trees and protecting your landscapes. We want  this quarterly newsletter to be interesting and relevant for you, so please feel free to submit ideas, questions, photos, comments and anecdotes to