Here in California, trees are a beautiful sight all year long and offer a wide range of benefits to a community. But beyond their aesthetic properties and ability to increase property values, trees have ecological and environmental importance. With beauty and benefit, we should plant more trees!

Once the state lockdown restrictions are lifted, consider planting a tree on your patio. Here are five beginner tips to follow.

Step 1: Plant during the right time of year.

The type of tree you are planting determines the time you should plant. As a general rule of thumb, early fall is the best time for Southern California. Your new tree will miss the scorching months of summer and have enough time to strengthen its roots before the cold and rainy months of winter.

Step 2: Choose the right spot and the right tree.

Be aware of power lines. If your tree species is known for being tall, planting beneath overhead power lines will force you to hire pruners each year. While trees and underground power lines easily coexist, having to dig up power lines for maintenance purposes could harm your tree.

After you have the right spot chosen, find the right tree. Research sun, water, and soil requirements. If you’re looking for a tree that offers shade, podocarpus, magnolias, and camphors are great choices for Southern California.

Step 3: Dig the right size of hole.

You want your hole to be just as deep and two or three times bigger than your tree’s seed ball. If the hole is too small, the roots won’t penetrate the soil effectively. And if it’s too deep, your tree could experience growth decline. Once your tree is inserted, backfill the hole with the dirt you removed.

Step 4: Add tree stakes if necessary.

Tree stakes should only be used if your plant is a bare-root tree, is located in an area with strong winds, or has an undersized rootball and a tall trunk. Normally, trees don’t need stakes. In fact, using stakes when not necessary could be detrimental to the tree.

Step 5: Add mulch and watch it grow!

Mulch is material you place over a tree’s soil to help contain moisture, reduce weed growth, and improve the appearance of a tree. It is best to add two to three inches of mulch. Too much could hurt the tree. Once the mulching is completed, water your tree regularly, and watch your baby grow!