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Your Spring Tree Planting Guide

Spring is a wonderful time for trees, so we're rolling out our best spring tree planting tips to help you grow the best trees in all of Iowa! From our top species picks to the best tried-and-true planting techniques, our Bettendorf tree planting guide is just what you'll need to grow a soaring canopy in your landscape this season!

Best Trees for Spring Planting

Selecting the right trees for your property can significantly enhance its beauty and value. Here are a few of our favorite species that also happen to be especially well-suited to Bettendorf's climate: 

Bur Oak

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is known for its impressive size, rugged appearance, and tolerance to various soil conditions. As an Iowa native, it's incredibly well-suited for our climate and offers shade, wildlife habitat, and visual interest across all seasons, making it one of the best trees to plant in Rock Island, Bettendorf, and beyond! Bur Oaks can reach heights of up to 80 feet and have a broad canopy, making them excellent choices for large properties or parks.


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Red Maple

Red Maple (Acer rubrum) is prized for its vibrant red foliage in the fall, making it a standout tree in any landscape. It's adaptable to urban environments and thrives in Bettendorf's climate, preferring moist, well-draining soil and partial to full sunlight. Red maples are medium-to-large-sized trees that reach heights of 40 to 60 feet, making them suitable for both residential and commercial properties. They are also one of our favorite trees to provide shade during the hot summer months!

Apple Trees

Apple trees (Malus spp) aren't just beautiful; they also provide delicious fruit for you to enjoy, making them the perfect additions to your landscape or backyard fruit orchard. Varieties such as Honeycrisp, Gala, and Fuji are well-suited for Bettendorf's soil and climate and add immense ornamental value to your landscape with their spring blossoms and bountiful autumn harvest. Just make sure you follow the proper spacing and pollinator requirements when planting multiple apple trees to ensure a successful harvest.

Flowering Crabapple

Crabapple trees are showy in the spring with their profusion flowers in pink, white, or coral colors. They are a great front yard tree because they are a little smaller in size with heights of 8’ up to 20’  and sizes in between.  They offer additional seasons of interest with bright orange, yellow, or red persistent fruit that is colorful in the winter and great for wildlife. 

Essential Tips for Successful Tree Planting

Before digging in too deep, use these essential tree-planting tips to ensure your trees grow big and beautiful this spring:

Site Selection

Choose a location with adequate sunlight and well-drained soil, away from buildings and utility lines. Evaluate your tree's mature size and ensure it has enough space to thrive without overcrowding other plants or structures. If you don't have space in your yard, don't fret: Davenport residents can request a street tree to be planted right in front of their property by the city, ensuring you don't miss out! Or, see our nursery experts for recommendations on smaller trees like magnolia, dwarf crabapple, or hydrangea trees for small space landscapes. 


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Planting Techniques

Dig a hole twice as wide as your tree's root ball and plant it no deeper than how it sat in its nursery pot. Backfill the hole with soil and water thoroughly to eliminate air pockets, settle the soil, and help prevent transplant shock. It's also a good idea to mulch around its base to retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Wallace's recommends mixing Earnest Earth Compost with the backfill soil and top-dressing the soil with a 2-3” layer of shredded mulch. 

Watering Schedules

Water your trees regularly, especially during their first year, to ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to the root zone, reducing water waste and promoting deep root growth. It is recommended that your trees receive 1.5-2” of rain or watering every week.  Mulch will help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature around your newly planted tree. 

Feeding Methods

Use a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy root development and overall growth, or apply a good quality tree food in early spring before new growth emerges and again in late fall to replenish nutrients depleted during the growing season. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application rates and timing.

Maintenance and Care

Follow these regular maintenance tips to maintain the vitality of your newly planted trees this spring:

Seasonal Pruning

Trim dead or damaged branches in late winter to encourage new growth and to maintain your tree's shape and structure. Avoid heavy pruning during the growing season, though, as it can stress the tree and invite disease. 

Pest Management

Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids, scale insects, and borers, and address any infestations promptly. Use integrated pest management strategies, such as handpicking insects, applying horticultural oils, or introducing beneficial insects to control pest populations naturally.

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Mulching Techniques

Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of your trees to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. Just be sure to keep mulch several inches away from their trunks to prevent moisture-related issues and discourage rodents from nesting.

With these spring tree planting tips, you're well on your way to a lush, healthy Iowan landscape! With thoughtful selection, proper planting, and diligent care, you can transform any space into a green oasis. Here at Wallace's Garden Center, we're ready to help everyone in the Quad Cities plant gorgeous trees this season, with expert advice and spring gardening tips for Moline residents, Bettendorf locals, and anyone else stopping by!

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