LESLIE: Well, Tom, have you ever noticed that many of these new – and I mean brand, spanking new housing developments – they lack one very important, and I might say homey, thing.
TOM: Yes, trees.
LESLIE: Seriously. I mean is there ever a tree in any of these new developments?
TOM: And if they do put trees down, they are the smallest, thinnest, homeliest-looking trees that you can possibly imagine.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Dinky-looking things. It’s true. I mean it. It’s like, clearly, when the builders decide “Alright, this is where the development is going to go” and they clear the area for the housing, trees and, basically, landscaping – other than lawn – clearly becomes the main afterthought of the whole project.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. True. But that doesn’t have to be that way if you are a homeowner looking to put some trees in your own yard because trees are great for shade, they’re great for protection and they’re even just great to look at. So, how do you that?
Well, here with some advice on how to plant a tree are a couple of guys that know a lot about trees: This Old House host, Kevin O’Connor; and lawn-and-garden expert, Roger Cook.
And Kevin, this time of year this is a very popular project because everybody loves trees.
KEVIN: You got that right. Who doesn’t like a big, beautiful tree in their yard? A specimen tree in your yard can make all the difference. It can provide shade, it can screen out unsightly views and it can provide a dramatic burst of seasonal color. But many homeowners, well, they’re probably uncomfortable planting a big tree because it does sound like a pretty big project.
ROGER: Not at all, Kevin. The principle is the same as planting a small tree; you’re just digging a bigger hole. And that’s one of the keys: make sure the receiving hole is two or three times the size of the root ball you’re putting in. When you put that root ball in, you want it an inch or two higher than the existing ground.
Before you dig the hole, think about the tree: how fast is it going to grow; what’s it going to look like in 10 or 15 years. I don’t want you planting it too close to the house where it could eat it.
KEVIN: And so what about watering? What do you recommend?
ROGER: I water the new tree everyday for a week; give it a good soaking. Then I like to see you get one of these watering bags. You’ve seen them. They’re green and you tie them to the tree.
ROGER: Makes the job easy. All you do is fill that bag with water and it slowly comes out of the bottom of the bag, watering the tree perfectly.
KEVIN: Seems like a pretty big job. Should homeowners be leery of doing it themselves?
ROGER: Not at all, Kevin; in fact, if you have any questions, just go to ThisOldHouse.com and watch the video that Kev and I did on planting a tree.
TOM: Roger, what’s the most common mistake people make when they try to plant their own trees?
ROGER: Planting them too deep. You know, we have a little saying: if you plant them high, they won’t die; plant them low, they won’t grow.
TOM: (chuckling) Good point.
Roger Cook, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: It’s been a ball.
KEVIN: Great to be here. A tree ball, that is. (Roger and Tom laugh)
LESLIE: Boy, if there’s a way to make a joke about anything and everything, you guys find it. I’ve never heard a tree joke before. (laughs)
TOM: We will find it. Tree humor is not beyond us.
LESLIE: And tree jokes are very few and far between.
Alright, well if you love the information that Kevin and Roger are sharing with you today, why not check them out on their very popular TV show, This Old House? And This Old House is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better.