Planning and Design

Site Preparation

Poorly-sited plants are doomed from the start, so trees and shrubs should be selected according to how well they will adapt to conditions of individual planting sites.

Soil drainage should be tested before planting. To test soil drainage, dig a test hole as deep as your planting hole and fill with water. If water drains at a rate of less than one inch per hour, consider berm construction (moving or raising the planting site) or installing drainage to carry water away from the planting hole base.

You can also consider using more water-tolerant species. For trees, try baldcypress, red maple, river birch, willow oak or sycamore. However, dogwoods, azaleas, Japanese hollies, boxwoods and other plants that don’t like “wet feet” should be avoided where drainage is poor.

Soil should also be examined for compaction before planting. If soils are compacted, consider replacing with a good loam soil, or incorporate several inches of an organic material such as composted yard waste. The organic material should be incorporated to a depth of at least 8 inches over the entire planting area. Sand, even in small quantities should not be incorporated as this will cause an increase in compaction and a decrease in drainage.

While the costs associated with site preparation can be expensive, it is very important to properly prepare the site where trees are to be planted to help keep maintenance and replacement costs to a minimum.

Site Preparation
Cost/Benefit Analysis
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