University of Tennessee
Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
Oak Ridge Forest Cumberland Forest Highland Rim Forest Arboretum

Tree Planting and Mulching

Urban Planting

Choosing a tree

Most trees are "rated" for their ability to flourish in various climates called "plant hardiness zones". This information can sometimes be found on the nursery tag or in reference books. Choose a tree that is known to survive in your zone. The Arboretum is located on the boundary of plant hardiness zones 6b and 7a.

When to plant

Newly planted trees do best when exposed to moderate temperature and rainfall. Give them time to root and adjust before the intense heat and dryness of summer or the freezing temperatures of winter. Spring and early fall are generally the best planting seasons (depending on your location) with fall preferred in the more southerly latitudes.

Tennessee Hardiness Zone Map

Tennessee Hardiness Zone Map

Average coldest winter temperature

Arboretum Tree Mulching Demonstration

Tree Mulching Site

Proper mulching application should be no deeper than 3 - 4 inches. A tree mulching project which tested the long-term effect of proper and improper tree mulch application was conducted at the Arboretum. Mulch was applied in mounds of 3, 6, 12, and 24 inches. The purpose of this research was to demonstrate the benefits of applying mulch properly and to identify the adverse effect of piling mulch too high around the stems.

University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: