Trees are a central part of life in Salem, Mass., also known as Tree City USA. Local school children celebrate Arbor Day annually with classroom presentations about trees. Salem gardeners learn early that coastal gardening is challenging with the salt spray, wind and sandy soils. The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management suggests planting your tree in early spring or late fall.
Check with the city to make sure that your tree will not obstruct easements or a right-of-way.
Amend sandy Salem soil. Add a 4-inch layer of compost to the planting area and mix it to a depth of 12 inches, using a gardening fork.
Dig a hole to the same depth and three times the diameter of the nursery pot in which the tree is growing. Find the soil line toward the bottom of the trunk, if the tree is bare-root. Dig the hole to the same depth as the measurement from the line to the bottom of the rootball.
Place the roots of the tree in the hole and backfill, halfway, with soil. Pour a bucket of water into the hole. Top off the hole with soil after the water has settled. Tamp the soil around the base of the tree with your feet.
Water the tree until puddles form. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch 2 inches from the tree's trunk and spread it in a 3-foot radius around the tree. Apply no mulch if the tree is planted on a sand dune or bank with loose sediment.