Avoiding Common Mistakes When Planting Trees | Tips from Experts


I never thought that planting a tree could be such a daunting task, but after ten years of no fruit, it’s become clear to me that I must have planted my starfruit tree in the wrong place. Thankfully, my friend Chris, expert arborist, explains to the importance of planting trees at the right height. We’ll also be discussing the different variables that come into play and how they affect the growth of your tree. So if you want your tree to thrive and produce delicious fruit, watch this video, hope it helps!

Apex Gardens:


Lynette Zang (00:00):

I’d like to introduce my friend and also my tree guy, Chris

Chris (00:06):


Lynette Zang (00:06):

Orosco. Okay. I just call him Chris. But, and the name of your company is

Chris (00:11):

We’re getting all that set up, Lynette, but it’s gonna be Apex Gardens.

Lynette Zang (00:15):

Okay. Apex Gardens will have all the links available, but the reason why I ask Chris here today and to be on air is because it is critically important that you know where to plant things. So this sad little starfruit tree that I planted in 2013, Lindsey did not plant it. She wasn’t here in 2013, or I’m sure it would’ve been planted in the right place, but you can see how unhappy it is here and it’s never given me fruit. It’s never grown. I think this is pretty much the size it was when I planted it way back 10 years ago. Okay.

Chris (00:59):

It looks like it may have been a little bit taller Might have been pruned back, might time or dead.

Lynette Zang (01:05):

It’s kinda, it’s quite hard, but it really never grown. Grew grown. Yes. No, it really didn’t do anything. And you can see how pathetic it, it looks. So I’m assuming that it was definitely planted in the wrong place

Chris (01:21):

So that that could be a variable. I’ve had some trees that were planted not by me and others that we have planted because it was the only space that we had available who have surprisingly done better than we would’ve expected based on their requirements. So there’s, there’s a few different variables that can come into play.

Lynette Zang (01:47):

Is that part of it to do with the roots?

Chris (01:49):

Yes. So planting a tree at the right height is really important because the root ball of the tree has breathing roots. So those are the surface roots that are the, within the first two to three inches of or around the trunk. When a tree is planted, when the hole is dug and the tree is set too deep, and then either with the shovel or over time just naturally water working its way and erosion working its way through to the trunk, those roots get covered up. And that’s just it’s the same as you and I having three or 400 pounds of weight up against our, our chest. So our lungs aren’t able to expand. They’re not allow they’re not able to get oxygen to go through the system. And a lot of the things that I talk about, I usually reference to us as humans because there’s a lot of similar functions. And so trees that aren’t getting adequate oxygen that are suffocating, reflect what a lot of people have when they have pulmonary issues. we have organ issues. Our skin is pale. Okay. We don’t have healthy growth. We look weak, we look malnourished. Right. And the same thing happens with the tree. When, when the roots are, are too covered up, 90%, maybe even more of the trees that we see anywhere. If you see them planted too or if you see them not doing well and they’re planted too deep, it’s because the root flare isn’t exposed.

Lynette Zang (03:31):

I remember when you came last year, cuz I’m gonna show you guys the starfruit that Chris planted last year. You’re gonna see the difference, which is why I wanted to start here mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. But what would your recommendation be for this poor tree?

Chris (03:50):

So we’re probably really close to one of the more optimal times of the year Yes. To remove.

Lynette Zang (03:58):

I couldn’t believe the other day I was looking out the window and I see all these star fruits and I just, I mean, I had to just put my bathrobe on and go outside and see them in person for myself because I was so surprised. Cause this has been my experience with starfruit so far.

Chris (04:15):

Yes. Yes. And starfruit is one of the fruits that, or one of the trees that you can harvest in the winter. One of the tropicals one of the issues with placement also is, and we’ll see that when we walk out there, is that was one of the spots where we could plant where with the west facing afternoon sun, there was still a little bit of protection. Right now is when they should be close to or near full size. ripe. Bright orange. So there’s, there’s a lot of challenges associated with limited spacing in terms of where you can put something that’s gonna thrive a lot. But yes, location how it’s planted the soil, how well it drains. Those are just some of the basic how, how it’s being watered. Those, those are variables that come into play. And, and will either give us an okay tree, a good tree, or a fantastic tree that grows healthy, that produces where, you know, the fruit ripens and it’s delicious.

Lynette Zang (05:24):

So how can somebody that does not have your experience determine where to plant a tree?

Chris (05:32):

It really, it really depends on the type of tree that you are wanting to plant as to where you can plant it how much sunlight it can get. Loquats do really well in full sun. We have several planted on, on different properties in full sun. Mangoes. There are some that we have planted in full sun that do extremely well. So what makes the difference between two mango trees that are planted in similar sun exposures and why is one doing better than the other? How well the soil drains, how much water they’re getting. How they were planted. They were planted.

Lynette Zang (06:13):

Yes. Yeah.

Chris (06:13):

So, you know, just

Lynette Zang (06:15):

So do you think that’s one of the problems because with this, because knowing what I know now, what I’ve learned from you mm-hmm. looking at this, I would say that it was planted too deep.

Chris (06:26):

There’s, there’s a, there’s a chance that if it’s been in there almost 10 years, there’s a chance it has that it was planted maybe at the right height at the time that it was planted. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But I, I always, and and this is something that’s recommended by many people, is leave, leave the root ball. You’ll be able to visually see what the root ball of, you know, these were 15 gallon trees, the shape of the root the root ball relative to the pot that it was in the well that was dug for it and how it was shaped. And those trees are thriving. And they’re, I mean, they’ve taken off, they’re peaches, plums loquats. Anyhow, a number of different trees, some of which are, are ones that will be on or that are on your list.

Lynette Zang (07:13):

So would you do that to this versus moving it?

Chris (07:16):

We would probably move this because we’ve got such limited space in here. Sometimes. Sometimes I mean we, we could actually, we could actually take it out here and, and move it back a little bit mm-hmm. Just so that it has a little bit more breathing room. But because you have your walkway here and everything else, we don’t really have the the room to, to maneuver right here to leave it in a state where it’s gonna maybe be able to come back to life and, and thrive.

Lynette Zang (07:43):

Let’s go look at the one that, let’s do you put planted. Okay. And you guys will see the difference. Yeah. Look at the starfruit. I know. I mean, I mean, but you just planted that. When did you plant that? I mean, look at this.

Chris (07:55):

It’s been a year. Yeah. Absolutely. So this is a good example of even where I’ve had a lot of the people. Yes. So we have, we have the root flare coming up there. The tree may have had a little bit of, you know roots being a little bit bound, which is why this didn’t come out. The nursery tree state didn’t come out. But the point here is that even with the surface roots, a lot of, I’ve had a lot of, I’ve heard a lot of people say, oh my gosh, you know, that’s, that’s not right. Those are gonna burn. You’re gonna kill the tree. So as the tree matures and, and gets bigger it, it has more roots and more breathers that are breathing out. But this is important. If we had a little bit of compost and mulch right in here right then, which is something that we need to follow up and do we would have less exposure. But we still have these exposed to where they’re doing the breathing for the tree. And you know, the tree thriving. What we don’t wanna see, which is probably what we have with the other starfruit and back, is we don’t want to see the soil

Lynette Zang (09:09):


Chris (09:11):

Here, let alone further up here. So, right. Yes. This is a little bit of maybe more than usual in terms of exposure of root flare, but this is way better than having the opposite, which is having soil or compost or mulch coming way up here.

Lynette Zang (09:31):

Yeah. So for sure.

Chris (09:33):

Anyhow, but yeah, as we can see you know, you have your.

Lynette Zang (09:38):

It has a lot of shade

Chris (09:39):

Yeah. There’s a lot of shade. Yeah.

Lynette Zang (09:40):

This is a carob.

Chris (09:41):

A carob and then we have the Hong Kong orchid.

Lynette Zang (09:45):

It volunteered,

Chris (09:45):

Od, did it really?

Lynette Zang (09:45):

It’s beautiful. Yes, it did. It, it volunteered. It was just this little teeny sapling when I first moved into the house and everybody always wanted to pull it out. And I’m like, no, leave it. Yeah. Leave it and look at it now. Yeah.

Chris (09:59):

No, it’s, it’s,

Lynette Zang (09:59):

It’s gorgeous. Yeah. I love it. I love it.

Chris (10:02):

So but yeah, just the, the fact that there’s a lot of shade here is keeping sunlight from pushing through and helping the fruit ripen, but nonetheless, it’s still producing a little thinning of the carob just so that it gets a little, if, if the first eight to 10 feet allowed a little bit more sunlight to come through, then we would have a little bit more sunlight in the main or mid part of the day. But yeah, these should be twice the size. They should be bright orange.

Lynette Zang (10:28):

Oh really?

Chris (10:29):


Lynette Zang (10:29):

I was so thrilled when I saw them. Oh my God. I can’t even tell you how excited.

Chris (10:34):

But, but, but this is, this is, I was, this is the sign that, you know, you’re on the right path path with this one versus the other one. Yes. And yes. Well

Lynette Zang (10:41):

For sure.

Chris (10:42):


Lynette Zang (10:42):

So I guess you need to come in and we just

Chris (10:44):

Need to do a little bit of things. Clean

Lynette Zang (10:45):

It up and Yeah. Yeah.

Chris (10:46):

The lower branching and same with the Hong Kong orchid. Just you know, you get a little bit of in the summer direct overhead sunlight. Right. Which, which is okay, we don’t want three or four hours of really, really harsh summer sun on these, cause that’ll just fry ’em like it would us. Right. Again, back to the US part. So trees need to get five to six hours of sunlight per day minimum. Some do fine with the full day, but definitely a minimum of five to six so that they can produce nice growth and healthy fruit.

Lynette Zang (11:21):

Well, I’m telling you, this is a good start.

Chris (11:24):

There’s a lot that we can grow outdoors here. We just need to baby things a little bit differently. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and again, someone that comes in from, you know, the Midwest who’s not used to our sun. Right. Can’t be out in the sun two or three hours a day. And, and it happened with me. I, you know, I lived in Chicago for a few years, but I come from Oregon and I came down in the spring and I thought, oh my goodness, this is fantastic.

Lynette Zang (11:49):

This is, the weather is great,

Chris (11:50):

It’s, it’s, yep. And we were all out all day by the pool and.

Lynette Zang (11:54):

Oh boy, we got burned.

Chris (11:55):

Yep. We got burnt. So the same thing goes with the trees. We gotta kind of, we gotta acclimate ’em. So the bigger they get, the bigger we get, the stronger they get, and the more we can, you know the more we can take of harsher conditions, that’s awesome. Cold and hot. So.

Lynette Zang (12:13):

But Well, I hope you guys learned something from today. It’s just the start. I know, I did. I do. Every time I talk to Chris, I learn something and I’m really excited about going up to the bug out location and doing all that work up there. And I know you said you were beside yourself.

Chris (12:30):

I’m excited as well. I’m jumping outta my boots right now, <laugh>. I’m looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. Awesome.

Lynette Zang (12:36):

Yes, because remember too, as we go through the transitions that we’re in right now, and, and it’s, it’s becoming, it should be becoming more and more obvious to everybody. Food is the single biggest issue for most people as we go through, the financial transitions that we’re going through and we’re watching mm-hmm. I mean, it’s really sad, but we are definitely watching a growing food emergency and food insecurity. So plant a starfruit, plant a papaya plant, okay. If you have the space to do it, if you don’t have the space to do it, you can do it in pots, but you have so many options. Just make sure this is one way. It’s, it’s not just that it’s wonderful. It’s that this can ensure food for the future. And that, and that to me is, I know it’s extremely important. And until next we meet. Thank you so much. Thank you. We’ll be seeing you again anyway.

Chris (13:37):

Hope so.

Lynette Zang (13:38):

Be safe out there. Bye-Bye.


  • Lynette’s mission is to translate financial noise into understandable language and enable educated, independent choices. All her work is fact and evidence based and she shares these tools openly. She believes strongly that we need to be as independent as possible and at the same time, we need to come together in community to survive and thrive through any financial crisis.

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