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Planting Trees in California

Trees add value to your property and are a great investment when improving your landscape. Not only do they add immense beauty, fruit, flowers, shade and more, they also help clean the air that we breathe. Planting trees should be a priority for all communities. Choosing the right tree for your property depends on several different factors.

Luckily, the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute located at Cal Poly in California, has a data base that will help you select the proper tree for your location and your needs. You can search the site by entering your zip code and the attributes of the tree that you want here:

Planting Your Tree

Once you have selected the tree that is best for your property, it’s time to plant! Like everything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Following the correct planting steps is important to growing a healthy tree.

  • First, make sure you select the right location in your yard for your tree. Make sure the tree you are planting has plenty of room and will not outgrow its location. Then determine that the soil in which you are planting is compatible with the tree you have chosen. Also, make sure that your tree will have the right amount of sun and shade that is recommended for your particular type of tree.

  • Prepare a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball (some landscaping experts recommend a wider hole, up to three times as wide.) A wide hole will insure fast growth of the tree. The depth of the hole should be determined by the height of the root ball. The right depth will prevent settling.

  • Remove the plastic or wire basket and/or burlap from the root ball.

  • Add a starter fertilizer and fill around the root ball with the soil you removed for planting.

  • Deep water the tree, and water each day for seven days; then water twice a week for week two, and once a week afterwards.

​Care and Feeding


It is important to know that mulching is very important to the health of your newly planted tree. Mulch acts to retain water, preventing the roots from drying out, and provide protection from the heat and cold. It keeps weeds away from the tree roots and prevents compaction of the soil around the tree. There are different types of mulch available.


For newly planted trees, water right after planting. Not enough water will damage a tree, but over-watering is harmful as well. The proper amount of watering can be determined by feeling the soil around the tree. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Allowing the soil to dry for a short time between waterings, is good for the tree because it allows the soil to oxygenate.

Consider a drip system with smart controller to efficiently water your newly planted tree and landscape, saving water and money. There are rebates available in many counties throughout California to help implement these systems.

After the first two years, the root structure of the tree should be well established and will not need the kind of monitoring that a newly planted tree requires.


Care must be taken when pruning newly planted trees because poor pruning can damage a tree for the rest of its life. The pruning of these young trees should be done to remove remove dead or broken branches. More aggressive pruning should wait until the tree is two to three years old.

Signs of a Healthy Tree

  • Is There New Growth: If you have had your tree for a year or more, there should be new growth appearing each year.

  • Check for Dead or Broken Branches: Since dead and broken branches invite insects and make the tree more susceptible to disease, they should be pruned off. Hint: If a branch is green underneath the bark when scraped with your fingernail, it is alive.

  • Check the Tree’s Bark: The bark should be intact. If it is loose or peeling, there is probably a problem. The truck should not have large cracks or holes and should be free of fungi.

  • Examine the Leaves: Leaves should be the appropriate color for the season. Wilting of the leaves indicate stress caused by too little or too much watering, or too much or too little sun. Evergreens should not have bare patches without needles, and deciduous trees should be full of leaves in the blooming season. Areas where leaves are missing can indicate damage or disease.

A proper tree care program will allow fluid growth patterns and wind penetration. This will condition your trees for long term healthy development. All of our pruning practices are based upon the International Society of Arboriculture industry standards.

Our Pacific Vista Landscape Service professionals will provide your property with a complete inventory of all trees and organize these trees on a multiple year tree care plan. We will place the trees on an appropriate plan to best suit a given species.

Contact us or call us today! 661-222-7525

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