How to plant a tree

Don’t be intimidated by tree planting! Here’s how the professionals at Victoria Gardens plant happy healthy trees:

Digging the hole: When planting trees, the planting hole should be bigger than the diameter of the root ball, but not deeper! You want the top of the container or root ball level with the ground surface. Once you finish your hole, you want to firm the soil at the bottom of the hole, so the root ball sits on a solid surface. If you set the tree on soft, freshly turned over soil at the bottom of your hole, the dirt could settle one way or the other and your tree could be crooked a day or two after planting!

Remove the cage and burlap: If you purchased a tree with a root ball, you will need to snip the metal cage apart with wire-cutters and REMOVE IT COMPLETELY! Then peal of the burlap COMPLETELY (And carefully, keeping the root ball in tack)! If you leave the cage and burlap on, you will inhibit the roots, and therefore stunt the growth of the entire tree. A tree planted in it's cage can become girdled and die.

Tickle the roots: If you brought your new tree home in a container (which we recommend!), then remove it from the pot and "tickle" the roots, loosening strands at the bottom edges and along the sides. This will encourage them to grow out in all directions immediately.

Feed the roots, not the leaves: Victoria recommends Espoma Biotone Starter, which is organic and stimulates root growth, lowering the chances of the tree experiencing stress.

Trees experience stress? Yes, and it can be caused by a variety of environmental factors. These stresses are “recorded” by the tree, and scientist can see the evidence of a drought or flood or defoliation hundreds of years ago in the rings of trees. Damaging insects will attack a stressed tree before a health one, and stress now can have effects years later.

Avoid stress! Planting smaller is better: Younger trees are more adaptable, and make the transition to a new environment with greater success. They make up for their small size with faster growth rates and better overall health for years after planting.

Amend your soil: Mix organic material in with your soil as you backfill (We like the Moo Doo, Dynamulch or compost to amend the soil. Some people use peat moss, although because it is mined, and not renewable, we recommend a peat replacement product made of coconut fibers. Cover the root ball with backfill and firm in the soil around it. ("Firm" not concrete hard - the tree's roots still need to push through the soil so don't take out any aggression, foot stomping, and the like, on the surrounding soil of your young tree.)

Water, water, water: The first year of any tree's life is the most important when it comes to watering. When you pick up your trees from Victoria Gardens, they are addicted to water. You must wean them off their watering schedule: water everyday for the first four or five days, every other day for then four or five, then every third day, ect. (A Gator can help!) The tree will adjust to it's surrounding with minimal stress, if you make the transition over a period of several weeks. After that, supplemental watering should be done weekly during dry periods.

Help from a ‘Gator': After the initial weaning, if you cannot reach your newly planted tree with the hose or if you plan on going away for more than a week, use a Treegator. Treegator is a drip irrigation system in a bag, which will release water over time, keeping your young tree from experiencing stress.

Keep the weedwacker and lawnmower at bay! The bark of most young trees damages easily, extra care is needed when mowing or using any garden tools around them. Injuries not only weaken dogwoods, but bring an onset of unwanted insects and fungus to the damaged bark.

Choose the right tree! Sun or shade? Moist soil or dry soil? Visit our nursery in Rosendale and we’ll help you choose!

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) ‘Hearts of Gold’ at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

The heart shaped leaves of this Redbud variety are a dazzling golden green. In the fall the leaves turn a striking orange/yellow. We love this tree planted at the woodland’s edge, where the striking light foliage stands out against the dark forest behind it.

 

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Hearts of Gold at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

 

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Heart of Gold at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

 

Eastern-Redbud-(Cercis-canadensis) at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud Growing Zones: 4-9
Mature Height: 20-30 ft.
Mature Width: 25-35 ft.
Sunlight: Full or Partial
Soil Conditions: Very Adaptable, Black Walnut tolerant
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Blooms: small pink blooms on bare branches in the spring
Fall color: Golden yellow

A superb, underused plant with unique, early spring bloom. The vivid spring bloom cover the bare branches of mature trees, giving them a dramatic, velvety look.

But the real appeal of this understory tree are the heart shaped leaves. Available in deep purple, deep green and golden green, the eastern redbud adds character, texture and structure to a garden bed.

River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Heritage’)

‘Heritage’ River Birch(Betula nigra ‘Heritage’)

‘Heritage’River Birch ‘Heritage’ Growing Zones: 4-9
Mature Height: 40-50 ft.
Mature Width: 25-30 ft.
Sunlight: Full or Partial
Soil Conditions: Very wet tolerant, clay tolerant
Bark: very ornamental in maturity
Fall color: yellow

As is implied in the name, river birch are well-suited for planting along river banks, and in other spots which can flood for weeks at a time, but they also thrive in normal soil conditions.

One of our best-selling trees!

Why we love it: This native tree is elegant and performs better in our area than its European cousin. Its bark is not quite as showy, but its form is lovely.

We love the ‘Heritage’ variety because of its glossier leaves, but it really shines in a winter garden too, because of its attractive silhouette and exfoliating reddish brown bark. The texture of the bark becomes more dramatic as the specimen matures. The dark outer bark peels, exposing salmon color underneath.

Betula nigra is fast growing, and the multi-branch, clumping river birch is graceful and elegant. We especially like the sophisticated look of the multi-trunk river birch planted in a grove.

 

Unique tree specimens that will thrive in the Hudson Valley

Stewatia pseudocamllia (Japanese Stewartia)

Why we love it: The dramatic exfoliating bark and great fall foliage.

Hardiness Zones: 4 to 7
Height: 20 ft to 40 ft Spread: 20 ft to 40 ft
Form: pyramidal/oval in youth – more rounded in maturity
Type: deciduous tree
Annual Growth Rate: 6 to 12 inches
Flowers: White with yellow center Blooms in July

Prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Soil should be moist and ideally acidic. Dry soil will limit this trees growth. The real appeal of this tree is its stunning exfoliating bark. When branches reach 2″ or 3″ in diameter, the gray, gold, and brown pealing bark is a real stand-out as a winter interest. Plus the Stewartia has fantastic fall foliage.

 

  

  

Fagus sylvatica ‘Purple Fountain’ – purple weeping beech

  

Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood)

Why we love it: This native tree blooms when no other tree is blooming in summer, and with the panicles still on the tree, the fall foliage will knock your socks off.

Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 25 ft to 30 ft Spread: 20 ft to 25 ft
Form: pyramidal
Type: deciduous tree
Annual Growth Rate: 8 to 15 inches
Flowers: White Blooms Mid- to Late Summer

Prefers full sun to partial shade. Can grow in acidic, infertile soil.. The primary attraction of this small deciduous tree is the drooping clusters of fragrant, white blossoms are borne on 4″ to 10″ long panicles. Flowers open over a three to four week period, and then the panicles remain on the tree while the leaves turn yellow, orange and red for a spectacular fall show. The persistent fruit remains on the tree through winter.

 

Syringa x ‘Boomerang’ – purple lilac tree (This matching pair is perfect for an entry way.)

 

Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine)

Why we love it: Long glossy needles and slow to grow, this tree is like no other evergreen.
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 20 ft to 30 ft Spread: 15 ft to 20 ft
Form: pyramidal
Type: evergreen tree
Annual Growth Rate: 6 inches
Flowers: None

Prefers full sun to partial shade. Likes moist, acidic, well-drained soil. Slow growing tree, but worth the wait.
Long glossy needles give this tree a distinct look, different than any other evergreen.

 

 

 

Cutleaf Japanese Maple – 6′ to 10′ tall and wide – Zone 5 -A dwarf, mounded, small tree with a cascading and weeping habit. Also called a Threadleaf maple, the leaves are finely dissected (ribbon-like), and comes in many different varieties – too many to name! Visit the nursery in Rosendale, and fall in love with one! Full sun to part shade.

  

 

Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’

Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’

Dawn Redwood Growing Zones: 4-8
Mature Height: 40-50 ft.
Mature Width: 20-30 ft.
Sunlight: Full or Partial
Soil Conditions: Very Adaptable
Drought Tolerance: Good
Fall color: Orange and yellow

The Dawn Redwood tree, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, is a deciduous conifer, with soft needle-like leaves that look like evergreens, but are bright green in the spring and brilliant orange/red in the fall. The needles are then shed in winter.

Dawn Redwood trees are a very interesting–one of the few deciduous conifers in the world.

It is feathery pyramidal in form with a straight, fluted trunk. It grows very fast to 40’ and can grow to 70’. Dawn Redwoods are considered by many to be the Fastest Growing Conifer.

  • Plant away from foundations and plan for it eventually being a very large tree.(Under ideal conditions they have been reported to grow up to 5 feet per year.)
  • Adaptable to almost any soil (except desert sand) can withstand both moderate flooding and drought. Dawn Redwoods can even grow in standing water.
  • Great when planted alone as an ornamental tree or in groupings. A great tree for borders and fence lines. Grows consistently into a pyramidal form and makes an attractive shade tree.
  • Once very hard-to-find, but now we have found reliable growers. At Victoria Gardens, we keep these lovely trees in stock throughout the year and we use them in plantings when ever we get a chance!

 

Dawn-Redwood-Metasequoia-glyptostroboides-‘Gold-Rush’ at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

 

 

Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY