Planting Site Preparation

Making a few quick preparations before planting a tree or shrub is a worthwhile exercise. It will give your plants a healthy start and could end up saving you time, energy and money.

Select an appropriate site

Light, soil, and water requirements can vary from plant to plant. Make sure that the specific demands of your plant will be met in the given location. Also make sure that there is enough surrounding space to allow the plant to mature – this includes space above, free from utility wires and other trees, and space underground for the roots to spread, free of obstructions like foundations and root competition from other trees. If you’re not sure what your plant requires, ask us and we’ll let you know.

Check your soil

Healthy plants start with healthy soil. Dig a test hole to check for proper drainage, moisture retention, aeration and nutrients. These soil characteristics depend on the amounts of clay, sand and organic matter like compost & peat moss. Generally if your soil is light or medium brown it is lacking organic matter and nutrients. Sandy soils drain quickly and are lighter and easier to dig than clay soils which usually are heavy, compacted and drain slowly. Fortunately most soils fall somewhere between sand and clay and can be easily improved by adding organic soil amendments like compost, manure, peat moss and topsoil. These amendments will help to aerate and lighten heavy clay soils, and add mass and retain moisture in light sandy soils. If you’re not sure what to use, bring us a sample and we will guide you.

Find the “front” of the plant

Sometimes a plant will look better when viewed from a particular angle. Walk around your plant and determine which side you think looks the best and mark that side with a ribbon.

Give yourself space to work

Delicate branches can be injured when planting. To create working room and prevent damage tie up the lower limbs of a plant prior to planting. Simply tie a piece of twine to one of the lower branches. Gently lift the lower branches and wrap the twine around the tree to hold them up. Make sure the top portion of any tall tree is untied before you stand it up in the hole.

More Trees and Shrubs