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The Tree Planting Playbook

As midwest homeowners, we understand the value of a beautiful and sustainable property, and adding trees is one of the most impactful ways to achieve both. Choosing the best trees to plant for your landscape not only enhances curb appeal but also significantly contributes to the environmental well-being of our community. This comprehensive guide will empower you with the knowledge and tools you'll need to successfully plant, care for, and nurture thriving trees for years to come!


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The Power of Trees

Trees are more than just leafy giants; they're environmental champions! Also, strategically placed trees can dramatically improve your property's aesthetics and increase property value; in fact, numerous studies show homes with mature trees can fetch higher prices compared to those without.


The environmental benefits of trees are undeniable. Trees act as natural air filters, removing pollutants and releasing life-giving oxygen. Their shade also provides a welcome respite during hot summer days, lowering the temperature of our urban environment. Their branches, nooks and crannies also provide habitat for animals and beneficial insects, and their flowers and leaves are food sources.  Trees planted around your home can reduce air conditioning bills in the summer and heat bills in the winter.  


Trees also play a crucial role in managing stormwater runoff by preventing erosion and safeguarding our precious water resources. By planting trees in your landscape, you actively participate in creating a healthier and more sustainable Bettendorf.


Getting Started with Tree Planting

Now that you're armed with the many benefits trees bring, let's explore how to choose the right ones for your Quad City  landscape:


Climate and Soil Considerations

Bettendorf boasts a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters, so keeping this in mind will help you select tree varieties that will thrive in our region. You should also consider your soil type and drainage when picking out trees, as most trees that thrive in our area prefer well-drained, loamy soil. 


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Size Matters: Think Space and Mature Height

Before purchasing a tree, consider its mature height and spread. Planting a large tree too close to your house can damage foundations and eaves, or block too much sunlight. Similarly, planting trees with low-hanging branches near walkways can create unwanted maintenance. Research the mature size of your chosen species and ensure it has plenty of space to flourish!


Growth Rate and Maintenance

Trees come in various growth rates. Fast-growing trees provide quick visual impact but may require more pruning to maintain their size and shape, while slower-growing trees require less maintenance but take longer to reach maturity. Think about your desired level of maintenance and the overall design of your landscape before planting. It is also important to consider where your utilities are buried - gas lines or overhead power lines should all be considered when planting in the Quad Cities!


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The Best Trees to Plant in Bettendorf, Iowa

With a wide variety of tree options available, here are a few exceptional choices for Bettendorf that are Wallace's approved:

  • Northern Red Oak: A majestic native with stunning fall foliage.
  • Redbud: This flowering beauty thrives in full sun or part sun and boasts vibrant pink blooms in spring. An understory tree perfect for a woodland look. 
  • Bur Oak: Another native oak species that's known for its longevity and resistance to pests and diseases. Stately and long-lived.  
  • Hackberry: A fast-growing native option that provides attractive fall colors and attracts songbirds.
  • Crabapple: Beautiful spring flowering followed by showy, persistent fruit provides 3 seasons of interest.  Newer varieties are disease resistant and fruit doesn’t fall off the tree so less mess! 
  • Maple: Maple trees come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with one for every landscape style.  Some of our favorites are Red Maple varieties like Red Pointe, Sun Valley, and Brandywine.  

For more fantastic options, check out what we have in stock at the garden center!

Essential Tree Care Techniques

Planting a tree is just the beginning of the journey. Proper care ensures your new addition establishes strong roots and thrives for decades to come. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way:


Staking Techniques for Young Trees

Newly planted trees can be susceptible to wind damage, moving around after planting due to wind, so staking provides crucial support during the initial establishment phase. Use sturdy stakes and soft ties to secure your tree without restricting its natural movement, and remove the stakes after one year to allow the trunk to develop strength on its own.


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Watering Guidelines for Newly Planted Trees

Watering is essential for newly planted trees, as deep watering promotes root development and healthy growth. Water thoroughly by completely soaking the root ball once a week during the first growing season, increasing frequency during hot and dry periods. As the tree becomes established, usually after the first year, watering needs generally decrease. We recommend 1-1.5” of rain or supplemental water per week.  Be sure to water new trees all the way up until the ground freezes in November. Applying mulch around the base of the newly planted tree will help keep the soil moist and protected, just ensure you do not pile the mulch against the trunk of the tree.


Feeding for Growth

Both organic and synthetic fertilizers provide your trees with essential nutrients for optimal growth. Organic options, like composted manure, release nutrients slowly and improve soil health, while synthetic fertilizers offer a more concentrated dose of nutrients and are helpful for correcting specific deficiencies. 


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Best Times for Planting in Bettendorf

The success of your newly planted tree often hinges on choosing an optimal planting time. Bettendorf's climate dictates two ideal planting windows: Spring and fall.  Summer planting is fine for most trees as long as you are there to provide supplemental watering.  Spring and Fall have more reliable rainfall to help out with this watering task. 


Remember, this is just a general guideline. Always check the specific planting recommendations for your chosen tree species to ensure optimal success.


With proper planning, planting techniques, and ongoing care, you can contribute to a greener and more sustainable Bettendorf while also transforming your property into a haven of beauty.

Still have questions? We're here to help! Stop by Wallace's Garden Center today for the best trees to plant now and the expert advice you need to get growing in the Quad Cities. 


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