Notes on tree planting

By January 24, 2024 No Comments

Today I spent the day in Burnaby and I made some notes for this blog post. It’s a kind of follow-up because I don’t always come to this part of Burnaby, but it’s nice to see how things change.

Horse chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

This City of Burnaby planting checked many boxes. The city workers staked the tree, and they made a tree well around it. And, just to make sure lawn care people knew to stay away, they also installed a plastic guard.

Now, months later, there is some work to be done. I would weed the circle and I would get ready to remove the tree stakes. Stakes shouldn’t stay on longer than 14 months: this allows the tree to develop reaction wood in response to wind events, and thus get stronger.

I would keep the plastic guard on, even though the tree circle should make it obvious that lawn care machines shouldn’t get anywhere near the bark.


When I walked by this Styrax japonicus I immediately noticed the cage sticking out. Now, we know that planting trees with cages is totally fine. So far there isn’t any scientific evidence showing that cages cause harm. It’s totally up to you: keep it or remove it. But, it does look ugly.

When you install the tree, bend the top of the cage down or remove it completely. Don’t leave it sticking out like this. I already know that line edgers will get their line stuck in it when they show up in spring to edge the grass.

Also, there is a tiny soil volcano touching the trunk. It’s important to locate the root flare (where the trunk turns into roots) and make sure there isn’t any soil piled above it. These infamous volcanoes kill trees. You can watch my video on this important topic here. It tells you why the volcanoes kill trees.


Tree planting is no joke. It’s a science and we need to get it right if we want our trees to thrive. Take your time, do it well and you will be rewarded with beautiful, healthy trees.

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