In the Garden: Replace trees damaged or lost in windstorm

In the aftermath of the recent windstorm, the Ohio State University Extension Agency of Madison County is encouraging county residents to plant trees to replace lost or damaged ones.

Tree Choices
Tree choices abound. For smaller trees with fall interest, consider the Chinese dogwood now ornamented with red fruit, the Amur maple with outstanding fall color, or the red buckeye for football fans. 

Medium tree favorites for Ohio include the paperbark maple with its copper-colored exfoliating bark and fall red color, the spring-blooming crabapple trees with their colorful fall fruits, or the goldenrain tree with its yellow summer flowers and dark foliage. 

For larger trees, consider a Kentucky coffeetree, bald cypress, northern red oak, pin oak or ginkgo (with unusual fan-shaped leaves). Ferncliff Cemetery and Arboretum in Springfield, the Chadwick Arboretum at Ohio State University, and area parks are great places to view these trees in their mature sizes. For online viewing, check out www.ohioline.osu.edu/b845.

Tree Planting
Before planting, make sure to select the correct location. Consider growing conditions, space limitations, nearby structures and underground utilities.     

Begin by digging a hole six inches deeper than the tree’s root ball or root depth and one-and-a-half to two times wider than its diameter. The Madison county office emphasizes the importance of planting depth and says many residents err on the shallow side. 

Next, return six inches of the hole’s soil mixed with some compost. Water until the soil settles, then set the tree on the ground in the center of the hole. Backfill with a mixture of two parts soil from the planting hole and one part organic matter. Water the newly planted tree to settle the soil around the root ball and secure the plant. A thin layer of mulch can be added to the soil around the tree.

When planting bare-root trees, remember to keep the roots moist before planting. Container trees will need their root mass pruned to prevent circling of roots. Burlap and wire baskets should be cut back, folded down or totally removed.   

For more details, visit www.ohioline.osu.edu/b845.

Teresa Woodard is a volunteer with the Madison County Master Gardeners. Questions and gardening news items are welcomed at 740-852-0809 or by e-mail at madison@columbusmessenger.com.

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