In order to select the appropriate tree for your landscape you need to take stock of your yard from top to bottom. Our nursery staff is happy to talk you through selecting the right plants for you, but it helps when you have a solid understanding of what's going on in your yard. Go through this checklist:
- Topography and soil: Are there low spots where water pools after a rain or does it drain well? Do you have heavy clay soil? Does the soil have particularly high or low pH?
- Sun exposure: Do you have full sun/part sun/full shade?
- Space: Are there powerlines overhead? Are there sidewalks, driveways or patios in the area? Do you have drain tile, septic field, irrigation or any other underground structures or wires in the area?
- Site history: Have you had a hard time growing certain plants in a certain area? Do you have an ongoing problem with particular pests and diseases? What was this land used for in the past?
- Miscellaneous: Do you have children or pets, horses or cattle? Will you be building any add-ons to your home or plan on construction projects in the future?
2) Get the Tree Home Safe
We are happy to help load your plants into your vehicle, however, it is ultimately your responsibility to get them home safely. Many of our customers are not equipped with the right materials to do so. Often, they expect to fit our trees inside their van or SUV, but realistically it's just not possible. We highly recommend an open truck bed or trailer. Small trees and shrubs can fit in enclosed trailers or trucks with toppers, however, you do run the risk of breaking lots of branches. If you don't have access to a truck, we recommend renting one for a small fee ($20/hour) from a big box store. If you are not able to transport and plant your tree, ask our staff about delivery and planting services.
- Make sure you bring along tie-downs or heavy duty straps to keep trees from rolling around.
- Bring cushioning in the form of old towels or blankets. To keep branches in tact we will lay your tree down and rest it's trunk on your tailgate to prevent injury to the trunk, you need cushioning.
- Bring a tarp and extra bungees. Unless you are driving under 20 mph all the way home, you should have tree canopies covered. If you don't, the leaves could be shredded to pieces. Transplanting is already tough on a tree, why subject it to even more stress?
3) Prepare the Dig Site
Avoid electrocution or natural gas explosions! Before you dig, call Iowa One Call to locate all utilities on your site. This service is FREE and it's the law. It usually takes 48 hours so plan ahead. Dial 811 or 800 292-8989, or go to www.iowaonecall.com.
One key piece of information to know is that all of our plants are grown in root control bags. These bags promote a robust root structure by discourage circling or girdling roots. They are porous and do dry out quickly so you will need to plant as soon as you can. If you can't get to planting right away, keep your nursery stock in the shade and water frequently. One helpful hint is to place wet burlap over the root balls to slow the rate of evaporation.
One last recommendation: If you are going on an extended vacation in the weeks or months after a planting, line up a neighbor or friend to babysit your tree babies. Don't assume that rain will take care it's needs while you are away.
Bentley Ridge Tree Farm