<< Also, make sure the tree is not too deep. >>
Two years ago I "rescued" a sick-looking Autumn-Blaze Maple from the
local Wal-Mart about mid-summer when it was on clearance.
I dug a deep hole in some really crappy soil (mostly coarse sand and
rocks, below an 8 inch thick layer of seemingly impenetrable hardpan
about 4 inches below the surface. I had to use a sharp pointed hand
tool to pick my way through the hardpan.
I filled most of the hole with organic debris from my tree line and
stomped it down: leaves, sticks, dead grass, acorns, hickory nuts, etc
etc etc. Then I put a layer of the "soil" I had removed from the hole.
I planted the tree with the root flare about 10 inches below grade,
backfilled with the crappy soil to the top of the root flare, threw in
a handful of lawn fertilizer, then put down crushed limestone to fill
the rest of the 10 inches to make the hole level with the surrounding
surface. I planted the tree below grade to give it extra support
because I didn't want to bother to stake it. Also, I thought this
would be good for the tree since the soil is more moist down there.
I watered it once, then we left on vacation for 2 weeks.
As you can tell from the above, in my ignorance I broke just about all
When we returned from vacation I couldn't believe my eyes. The tree
was going nuts, putting out new growth everywhere.
This spring it is going nuts again; it's the healthiest-looking maple
on the property.
So my question is, should I dig this tree up this fall and plant it
properly? In other words, is it going to run into trouble as it gets
larger and starts to expand its root system? Or did I just get lucky
and get a tree with really good genes, and I should leave well enough
By the way, I bought a very healthy-looking Bradford Pear in a 3.5
gallon pot and planted it a week ago following all the rules. It's
already wilting and it looks like it's going to die. Doesn't make any