Our Arborists’ Top 3 Tips for Planting Trees in Utah

If you’ll be planting trees this fall, it’s time to start planning.

Planting Trees

Yes, we’ve barely gotten into the swing of summer, but autumn will be here before you know it — and that’s one of our tree-planting seasons here in northern Utah. Whether you’ll be planting fruit trees, shade trees or an ornamental species, choosing the right location and growing conditions is critical.

To give your trees the best chance of success, our Utah arborists have assembled some tips to help you.

No. 1: Choosing the Ideal Location for Planting Trees

One of the biggest problems we arborists in northern Utah deal with is poorly located trees. It’s difficult to look at a diminutive sapling and think 20 or 30 years into the future, but that’s what you have to do before you settle on a planting location.

For example, are there power lines overhead? If so, branches will meet overhead wires one day — and that means unnatural (and potentially unhealthy) pruning. What about structures, such as your home, garage or workshop? Plant too close, and the root system could affect the foundation in a few years.

Finally, think about the orientation of your new trees. Some species will not do well on the hot sides of your home (west or south). More delicate species that might not fare well in the harsh winter winds should be planted on the protected side of your home to provide a critical windbreak.

No. 2: Creating the Perfect Soil Conditions for Planting Trees

Different species have different needs in terms of soil content and makeup. Our northern Utah soil tends toward salty with a high pH. If the soil in your yard fits this profile, planting trees that need a low pH soil is asking for trouble.

You can add soil amendments and fertilize the trees periodically to help offset the natural soil conditions. However, unless you know what your dirt composition is, you’ll be playing a guessing game.

You can order a test kit online, but consider doing your soils testing through the Utah State University Analytical Labs (USUAL). By doing a home soil test before planting trees, you can choose species that will do best in that location or add soil amendments to create a more hospitable planting environment.

No. 3: Consider the Water Needs of Utah Trees

When planting trees, find out the water needs of the species you select, then make sure that you have a reliable way to meet those needs.

If you have a drip irrigation system, you will likely need to devote a zone to your trees. If you will be watering by hand, you’ll need to learn how to gauge the amount of water you’re using. Too much, and you can cause root rot. Too little, and the trees will struggle.

Remember that your new trees will send out roots in different directions, potentially interacting with other plants in your yard. If you’re watering those plants more than your tree needs or can handle, it can affect its health and future growth.

Before you select and plant your new trees, consider consulting with a professional Utah arborist to discuss these critical factors. Reliable Tree Care, located in Murray, Utah, provides expert consultation, fertilization, pruning and pest control services to clients throughout the Salt Lake City area and northern Utah. Contact us before planting trees this fall, and we can help you create the perfect growing environment.