How to Plant Trees and Shrubs

How to Plant Trees and Shrubs - A step by step guide with images

Properly planting trees and shrubs will greatly increase their chances of survival. They will be more tolerant of adverse conditions and will require far less maintanence. Here are our recommended planting instructions to ensure that you give your trees and shrubs the best possible start.

Step 1: Dig a hole

Step 1: Dig a hole no deeper than the root ball, but twice as wide.

Dig a hole no deeper than the root ball, but twice as wide.

Dig a hole twice as wide and about the same depth as your plant's rootball. Be careful not to dig too deep. For balled and burlapped plants, you want the rootball to be slightly above ground level. For container plants, the soil inside the container should be even with the ground level.

Step 2: Remove the container

Step 2: Remove plastic container, do not remove burlap.

If your plant is in a plastic container, remove the plant from its container. If it's balled and burlapped, leave the burlap on for now.

Remove your plant from the container by either cutting or sliding it off. Loosen roots by making four or five slashes about one inch deep vertically down the rootball.

Step 3: Place the plant in the hole

Place the plant in the hole making sure the top of the root ball is at (or slightly above) ground level.

Container Plants

Step 3: Place it in the hole making sure the top of the roots are at ground level

Place your plant in the hole. Tease the roots out so they will grow out into the surrounding soil. Be careful not to knock too much soil from the rootball.

Balled and Burlapped Plants

Step 3 (B&B): Place it in the hole making sure the top of the roots are at ground level

Keeping the burlap on the plant will allow you to correctly position the plant in the hole without disturbing the root ball.Balled and Burlapped Plants.

Position your plant so it is straight and facing the right way. Push a small amount of soil around the bottom of the rootball to hold it in place while you remove rope and burlap from the top of the rootball. If the rootball has a wire basket, cut off the top third. It is not necessary to remove the entire basket.

Step 4: Amend the soil

Step 4: Amend the soil with compost or pre-made planting mixture

Amend the soil with compost or pre-made planting mixture

Create a planting mix by thoroughly combining soil amendments with the soil removed from the hole. In most cases your mixture should consist of approximately 1⁄2 existing soil and 1⁄2 soil amendments. Apply root stimulants like mychrizae and water-saving products like SoilMoist prior to backfill.

Step 5: Form a basin

Step 5: Back fill the hole making sure the soil is in contact with the roots.

Fill the hole back in making sure that the soil is in good contact with the plant's roots

Backfill the rest of the hole with the planting mix and use any extra soil to form a basin around the plant that is as wide as the rootball. This basin is important because it will collect water and allow it to seep into the soil surrounding the plant's roots.

Step 6: Top-dress with mulch

Step 6: Top dress with a 2-3 inch layer of mulch

Add a layer of mulch, covering the planting area. It not only looks nice, but it also insulates the roots to retain moisture in the summer and prevent damage in the winter.

Add a layer of mulch 2 - 3 inches deep that covers the planting area. However, be sure there is no mulch touching the trunk of plant.

Step 7: Water

Step 7: Water. Place the end of a slowly trickling hose at the base of the plant for 30-60 minutes

Water "slow and low." Watering over a long period of time at a very low volume allows the water to pnetrate deeply into the soil.

Place the end of a slowly trickling hose at the base of the plant for 30-60 minutes (depending on the size of its rootball)

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