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Planting pine trees can be especially rewarding due to their popularity during the holidays, but some guidelines should be followed to ensure proper growth. Preparation of the site is important before placing the tree in the ground, and should include getting rid of weeds, loosening the soil, and ensuring that there is enough drainage. A hole should be dug and filled with water, and then covered up, once the roots have been securely planted. Maintenance after planting pine trees usually consists of sun and water, and minimal fertilizer.
The first step to successfully planting pine trees is to get rid of any grass or weeds in the planting site, which is made easy by spraying herbicide, and then removing them by hand about a week later. The soil should then be loosened with a spade or tiller so that the hole can be dug next. Before placing the tree in the hole, it is important to make sure that the drainage in the area is good. This can be done using a test hole near the planting site, which should be filled with water and then left overnight. If the water drains within about 12 hours, the drainage is likely good, but if it does not, it may be best to either plant elsewhere or install land drains.
Once a trench is dug that is wider than the radius of the roots, the bottom of the space should be filled with top soil. The roots should be at the bottom of the trench, and as the hole is refilled slowly, the soil should be tamped down with the handle of a shovel. It is also helpful to pour some water into the hole with every few layers of soil, especially since wet soil does not usually need to be tamped down as much as dry soil. If the tree is large and does not seem very stable, it can be staked so that it stays straight.
The maintenance required after planting pine trees is usually minimal. While this kind of tree needs a good amount of sunlight, it should also be shaded for part of the day since excessive direct sunlight can be harmful, especially for young trees with roots that are not well established enough to provide sufficient water. On a related note, the amount of water the tree needs often depends on how much sunlight it gets, so this factor should be considered when planting pine trees. Fertilizer can be given sparingly, as most pine trees do not even need it unless they appear to be struggling.