Trees are not Tomatoes!

    Trees are not Tomatoes!

    Jun 14, 2022

    Well, that seems obvious.  But there is a point to this statement and we’ll get to that.  We’ve been through a long winter and gardeners have long waited to get their hands into the soil.  Tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetable.  There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of eating a tomato right off the vine, in a salad or as the base for some great fresh salsa!  Serious gardeners start the process months before growing season, perusing seed catalogs for just the right seeds – and maybe trying something new this year, perhaps some heirloom varieties.  Seeds are carefully planted in special mixes of growing media and nurtured with just the right amount of light and water to grow strong, healthy plants.  Once the chance of frost is gone, finally, it’s time to plant outside!  Tomatoes can be grown in traditional gardens, in raised beds, or in pots on the patio.  

    According to the “Bonnie Plants” website and Taunton Fine Gardening, the proper way to plant a tomato is to plant it deeply.  The fibrous stem of a tomato is able to generate more roots; the more roots, the more robust the plant – enabling the plant to produce more fruit.  Gardeners are encouraged to remove the lower leaves of a tomato plant, remove the plant from the container and bury the fibrous root ball all the way up to the remaining leaves on the stem.  

    With trees, deep planting is never the right way to plant.  It’s a slow but sure way to kill a tree.  Holes should be dug shallow and wide, just deep enough to cover the roots with an inch or two of soil and wide to encourage lateral growth.  Most tree roots (up to 80 per cent) of a mature tree are located in the top 18” – 24” of soil, like a fat pancake kissing the soil surface.  Plus, roots will grow far beyond the canopy of a tree, up to two or three times as wide as the tree canopy.  While the leaves of a tree produce oxygen as a product of photosynthesis, the roots NEED oxygen to grow.  Soil oxygen is found in the pore spaces of the upper layer of soil, so that is where the majority of tree roots thrive.  This helps to explain why you should not overwater your trees.  Water fills those same soil pore spaces and a tree will literally drown if the soil is constantly saturated with water.  Trees grow best when they have sufficient growing space, both above and below ground, with a well-drained soil that has enough oxygen and the right amount of water.  Deep planting is one of the most common things that can lead to tree problems and an eventual early death of a tree.

    Trees and tomatoes are NOT the same when it comes to planting.  But they both can provide great satisfaction and joy when things go well in your garden and yard – starting with good plant selection and proper planting techniques.