Trees naturally enhance the appeal of any yard or garden and can provide practical benefits, such as summer shade for the house. Louisiana enjoys a semitropical climate with very mild winters, hot summers and plenty of rainfall throughout the year. Choosing trees that are well-adapted to this climate is very important. The Louisiana State University Extension Services has published an excellent guide that includes detailed recommendations on what trees to plant.
Choose a location that drains well, if possible, and will keep the tree clear of power lines and buildings as it grows. Soil conditions vary across Louisiana, but native trees should be able to adapt to most situations.
Measure the height and width of the rootball. Measure the height from the bottom to the point where the trunk flares out just above the root. Make the hole double the width of the rootball and 1 to 2 inches shallower than the measured height. Loosen the soil on the sides of the hole so it will be easier for the tree to root.
Cut any twine that is binding the tree before planting. Carefully lower the rootball into the center of the hole. Lay the shovel handle or a board across the hole and check that the flare is at least 1 inch above ground level. Cut away the twine around the burlap and push the wrapping down so that it will be well-buried. Pull the ends of the rootballs wrapped in wire baskets and push them below the surface.
Backfill half of the soil into the hole and add a 2 to 3 gallons of water. Finish backfilling and tamp the soil lightly with the back of the shovel. Make a ring around the edge of the hole with the extra soil to act as a dam to keep water close to the tree.
Employ planting stakes if the tree is large or you live in an area with high winds. Place two or three wooden planting stakes around the edge of the rootball and pound them in. Space the stakes evenly apart and angled slightly toward the roots. Cut pieces of strapping long enough to easily encircle the trunk and stake. Loop the strapping around the trunk and cross it to make a figure 8 before tying or nailing it to the stake. Tighten the strapping just enough to hold the tree in position.
Add 1 or 2 inches of water within the planting ring and spread 2 to 4 inches of mulch out to the edge of the planting hole. Keep the mulch off the trunk to prevent rot.