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Delaware Guide to Growing Trees

Trees, trees, trees! There are many different kinds of them and each has its own set of benefits. Growing trees is not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of things to know about how much light they need, what type of soil they prefer, and more. That’s why we’ve created this in-depth guide on everything you’ll need to know about successfully planting a tree in Delaware.

Delaware Trees

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Delaware

Southern Magnolia

Southern Magnolias are one of America’s hardy trees with long, broad leaves and thick roots.  Magnolias typically grow in the southern parts of Delaware, but can still grow up north. In addition to its beautiful blossoms and towering height, the tree provides privacy by creating a lush canopy that blocks out sightlines from passersby. It has a bright white center and emits an unforgettable fragrance, even though it is cold hardy to 10 degrees. Furthermore, it dries out fast as other magnolias do; however, this tree can handle some flooding as well as soil that is not so good.

Southern magnolia trees offer a lot of benefits. In the winter, they provide color for birds that have migrated to warmer climates and seeds during the fall months which provide food for these animals. These trees also produce cones throughout winter.

Planting & Care

To grow a Southern Magnolia, place it in a sunny area (6 to 8 hours of sun per day) away from cement sidewalks and driveways. Dig the hole at least 2-3 times wider than and as deep as the root ball. Hold this position straight while you backfill the hole, tamping down to prevent air pockets from forming. Finally, water to settle and add mulch for moisture conservation.

As a Southern Magnolia is young, be sure to water it every two weeks in the first year. After that, rainfall should suffice and you should only have to water when there are long periods of drought. For optimal benefits when fertilizing your tree, use a directional-release formula. Follow instructions carefully to apply fertilizers in the spring. Prune your magnolia at its first sign of any dead leaves, branches, or flowers which appear before the start of spring growth. Cut branch tip down so that it connects with its base and remove all other shortened branches as necessary.

Muskogee Crape Myrtle Tree

Muskogee is one of the few Crape Myrtle varieties with rich lavender-purple flowers. Muskogees are one of the fastest-growing Crape Myrtles available, maturing quickly to provide both interesting color and ornamental use. It delivers beautiful color and full blooms for up to six months! There are no true blue varieties, but Muskogee comes close with its cool lavender undertones. Muskogees, which can thrive in a variety of soil types and is resistant to powdery mildew as well as drought, don’t require much attention from you.

Insects can cause Crape Myrtles to succumb to mildew, but Muskogee is resistant to the insects and continues to grow. The flowers have a bluish-toned color and the bark has a light cinnamon or tan tone. 

Planting & Care

Plant your Muskogee tree in a sunny location with deep, dry soil. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and just as deep. Untangle roots beforehand by combing through the root ball and then place it in the ground so that it’s level with the surface of the earth around it. Tamp the soil of your hole, cover it with mulch, or compost before backfilling with more soil.

Crape Myrtles require less water because they’re drought tolerant. Young plants may need to be watered occasionally until they’re more established, so check the ground at least 3 inches down and wait for it to dry out before watering again. Place your Crape in a sunny spot. Apply pre-bloom fertilizer and prune when needed to maintain blooming branches and growth.

The Best Shade Trees in Delaware

Southern Red Oak Tree

The Southern Red Oak is a hardy tree that can grow in temperate to subtropical climates and thrives even under the worst conditions. If you’re looking for a huge shade tree that requires very little maintenance, the Southern Red Oak is a great choice. Long-lasting and fast-growing, this tree offers lots of benefits to nearly every American family. 

Planting & Care

Plant your red oak tree in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day and make sure to give it plenty of room to grow. After planting the tree, tamp down the soil until it is firm, thoroughly water the roots with water so that it penetrates them and place mulch around the base.

Young trees need to be watered at least 1 time a week. Once your tree matures, you only need to water them during dry seasons where little rain falls (less than an inch per month). If you notice that your Southern Red Trees do not seem to be growing as much, you can add a general-purpose fertilizer once per year.

Sugar Maple Tree

The Sugar Maple is a hardwood that possesses all the beauty, charm, and strength one would expect of such an icon. New York, Vermont, and Canada have all adopted the Sugar Maple as their state tree, while its national flag features the amazing leaf(s) we associate with it so well. Not only do these trees provide a beautiful show of color, but they stay green all year round. The leaves change color throughout autumn, from deep greens to bright yellows and oranges before finally turning red.

Planting & Care

Once established, Sugar Maple trees tolerate drought conditions well and prefer fertile soil but should be planted in a spot with good drainage. To plant a maple tree, find a spot with 4-8 hours of sunlight per day and dig a hole 2-3 times wider than the root ball. Place your tree in the planting hole keeping the top of the root ball even with the ground. Fill any gaps in the soil to maintain its upright position and water thoroughly. After the water has absorbed into the root ball and surrounding soil, fill any remaining space with soil. Pack firmly and water a second time. Lastly, mulch to retain soil moisture.

The Maple tree likes to be watered during its formative years, making sure it isn’t overwatered or underwatered. When planting your new maple tree for the first time, use a low fertilizer. Only apply twice per month when the pine is newly planted and once every other month during warmer periods of the year. Discontinue fertilizing before dormancy sets in again. Pruning trees is best done before spring. Select your branches to cut before you begin cutting live ones since branches growing at narrow angles to the main trunk, rubbing together, or growing inward may need pruning.

The Best Fruit Trees in Delaware

Bing Cherry Tree

The Bing Cherry is one of the quickest fruit-bearing trees you can grow in your yard. Drought-tolerant and adapted to various soil types, it is a tree that will thrive without any hassle. One of the most popular dark cherries found in grocery stores is also easy to grow at home. If you have your own Bing Cherry Tree, you don’t need to visit supermarkets for your fruit. And because it’s grown without pesticides, you’ll get healthy fruit that’s perfect for snacking or baking more recipes.

Planting & Care

First, find a location with well-drained soil and full sun. Dig a hole the right size for your Bing Cherry of at least 18 inches deep and as wide. Place your cherry tree in the hole so that it is planted firmly in the ground and tamp down any air pockets around the roots with the surrounding soil. Give it water to settle its roots before covering it with mulch to encourage healthy growth.

We recommend watering your tree once every two weeks, ideally at the base of the trunk within 3 inches of soil. Though you can often gauge when to water by observing whether or not your soil is dry in that area, usually you’ll want to check 2-3 inches down for drought conditions. In the late winter, trim away any weak or drooping branches and shape the tree so it has plenty of space to grow between its branches. Trim every year as needed to remove dead limbs or other parts that are no longer healthy. Yearly, fertilize the Cherry Tree in the spring and summer with a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. For best results don’t use organic mulch or fertilizer.

Fuji Apple Tree

The Fujis produce a crisp and sweet apple that is the perfect snack. The Red Fuji’s versatility makes it easier to plant, as you can eat them whole or bake them into pastries. When planting a new tree, you want to take into consideration the flexibility and versatility of the species. Red Fujis are known for their exceptional quality, vigor, and varied soil tolerance.

Planting & Care

The Fuji Apple Tree is a cross between the Red Delicious and Virginia Ralls Genet, two of the most popular varieties in the United States. When planting apple trees, be sure to make room for different species that bloom during the same season so they can cross-pollinate and produce fruit. Find a location with full to partial sunlight (about 4 to 8 hours of sunlight per day) and well-drained soil. Make the planting site hole twice the width of the root ball; place your new Fuji Apple in it, backfill with soil; tamp down as you fill. Lastly water the planted area to settle into existing dirt properly. We also recommend mulching around the base to prevent competing weeds and grasses from growing next to the area.

Weekly watering is recommended for your Fuju Apple. If the weather is extremely hot and dry, water more frequently in order to keep the soil moist. When your tree becomes established and starts to produce fruit, it will need periodic moderate pruning. Prune a fiddle of dormancy and remove any upright stems in the upper portion of the tree. Weak, damaged, or dead branches should also be removed. Low-hanging, droopy branches should also be removed for best results.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Delaware

There are two optimal times to plant trees in Delaware: Fall and Spring. In the Fall, you will get a head start on the next growing season by providing your tree with an ample amount of time to establish roots before winter sets in. The spring is also ideal because it provides plenty of opportunity for growth and avoids the heat that can lead to drought conditions as summer approaches.

Can You Plant All Season Long?

Yes, you can! It’s never too early to start. In Delaware, there are many different types of plants and flowers that have been created to withstand the harsh winter weather. Unless you live in southern Delaware, the answer is a resounding “no”. However, if you are willing to invest more time and creativity into your landscaping plans, it won’t be impossible.

What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in Delaware

Springtime

Springtime is the ideal time to plant shade-loving trees such as maples and oaks so they have plenty of time to grow before the summer heat arrives. These are ideal for areas that need a break from strong sunlight during the hot summer months. You can also plant an apple or cherry blossom tree because they provide fragrant blossoms and produce fruit that is ripe when it is picked at its peak time! 

Summertime

Plant a dogwood tree because they produce beautiful white flowers in the summer and have attractive red berries that feed wildlife. 

Fall time

It’s a good time of year to plant deciduous plants like tulip poplar or red oak with leaves during the fall. It will lose its leaves and provide an ample amount of sunlight for new growth during the winter months.

Wintertime

Plant Zelkova and Beech trees because they will keep your lawn from turning into a snow-covered mess in winter, and provide you with shade during warmer months to come.

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Delaware

The White Pine Tree, The Red Oak Tree, and The Tulip Poplar Tree are the most common local trees that have small root systems.