One of the birthday presents I received from Matt was a tree. Yes, a tree. I asked for it because I wanted one, and really, what better gift is there for a nature lover (minus the bugs) than a living thing that enriches the soil and cleans the air? I’ll tell you. There isn’t a better gift out there. Period.
We went to a local nursery that was having a sale on weeping cherries because I find them whimsical and charming, and a lovely complement to the enormous weeping willows scattered throughout our property. The tree we bought was about 5 feet tall and I named her Wonky, because she had an errant branch that stuck straight up.*
We loved her immediately.
Editor’s Note: we had no choice but to love Wonky, because she was one of the very last trees on the lot due to the sale…
She’s beautiful nonetheless and one day, she’ll look something like this… someday…
Before we even got Wonky in the ground, this conversation ensued:
Me: Someday, when we move on from this home, we’ll have to hire a tree service to get Wonky out of the yard and into our new yard.
Matt: This tree isn’t coming out once it goes in.
Me: I wonder how much it costs to move a mature tree.
Matt: The tree stays.
Me: Surely, 20-25 feet isn’t that unmanageable.
Matt: This conversation is over.
Well, we’ll see about that. I can probably-almost-always-sometimes convince Matt that my idea is better than his.
The first step was to see where Wonky would live. We have a curve in our driveway as it leads into the garage that I thought might provide a nice frame-of-sorts for the tree. Matt pretended to be a weeping cherry tree while I stood back and inspected the spot.
Then, we just dragged the tree over to decide together if it was a good spot. Can you see it below, in the front-left part of the front yard?
We needed it far enough away from the driveway so that it wouldn’t rip it up as it grew deeper and stronger roots, so we figured it might look a little strange for a couple of years, out in the middle of the yard. After a few years though, it will look like it’s positioned perfectly. This is the plan, at least.
Then, it was time to dig. I started in with Wonky’s groundbreaking. It was mostly unceremonious. Mostly.
Then, Matt had a turn.
We wanted a hole the same depth as the root ball and about twice as wide. This is a general rule of thumb when planting trees. Using our two shovels and only a little manpower, we had a perfect spot dug out after ten minutes.
Matt used a utility knife to cut away the plastic bin surrounding the tree.
We put her in her new home and stood back to make sure we liked it. Pretty soon, there would be no turning back.
We filled the hole halfway with regular, un-enhanced, soil and patted it down to clear out any air bubbles that may have been trapped. Then we soaked the tree.
We added the rest of the soil after that, and stepped back to admire our newest addition in her new home.
I am loving that little tree more and more everyday - even though I had to get up early each morning to water her before work so she’ll have a successful start with strong roots. Here are some things I learned about planting a tree of this size, which is MUCH heavier than it looks.
- Always lift with your legs.
- To pick the perfect spot for your new tree, always consider drainage, sun exposure, and mature height and width. Match these up with an area of your yard that meets the tree’s requirements for a healthy life.
- Be patient. The tree will grow slowly and you’ll probably have to wait a year to see blossoms. With Wonky, she had already blossomed when we picked her out, so we’ll have to wait until next April for her beautiful, rosy flowers. The wait will be worth it.
- Give it a good soaking each day for a week, and then water during dry spells for a year for best root development. (This will vary from tree to tree.)
- Don’t add any soil enhancements (compost/fertilizer) to the soil when you have your hole ready to fill - this will discourage root growth. Think about it - if you have all the nutrients at the base of the tree, what incentive does the tree have to reach out and develop deeper roots?
So there you have it - our newest addition to the front yard and a product of our Do Nothing Weekend.
What do you think? She’s cute, right? Are you planting any trees this Spring? Do you think Matt will let me take Wonky with us down the road? I’m betting on it…
*You may not notice the aforementioned errant branch in the pictures above, which led us to name her “Wonky” when we picked her up. Well… funny story… maybe not so funny for my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law was also taking advantage of the sale at the nursery and picked up two weeping cherries herself. There were three trees purchased between us, and loaded onto a friend’s truck. As it turns out, we planted Wonky’s sister at our house, and Wonky will be at my mother-in-law’s. Oops. Turns out she isn’t as thrilled about the charming, wonky branch as we were. Oh well, what’s done is done and Matt isn’t digging another hole. The name will stay and we’ll owe her a nondeformed cherry tree next Spring ;)
Happy Monday and thanks for stopping by!