Trees and plants are an investment. It is important to plant your new trees and plants the correct way. Here are some simple tips to get your growing investment off to a great start.
- Tip- Lay a tarp next to where you will be digging for easier cleanup.
- Remove sod from the planting area and soil from the hole.
- Dig a hole minimum of 6-8″ wider than the root ball on all sides and slightly shallower than the root ball is deep.
- The ball should set on undisturbed soil to prevent settling.
- The top of the root ball should be slightly higher than the original ground level (1-2″ for smaller plants and 2-3″ for larger plants and trees).
- Amend the soil from the hole with compost or Pine Soil Conditioner, with a ratio of approx. 20-30% amendments to 70-80% original soil. Mix and chop together; this is the backfill used for planting.
Planting Container Grown Trees
- Very important! Remove the plant from its container and inspect the roots.
- If roots are entangled or grow in a circle, massage the outer roots apart. If too tight, use a knife or pruners to loosen. This encourages roots to grow out into the surrounding soil and improves water penetration into the rootball.
- Place the loosened root ball in the center of the hole and make sure the top of the root ball is slightly higher than ground level.
- Use the amended soil and fill in around the root ball, chopping and lightly tapping as you proceed.
- Continue filling until the backfilled soil is at the shoulder of the root ball (not on top).
- Cover the top layer with a light dressing of mulch.
Planting Balled and Burlapped Plants
- Measure before putting the plant in the hole.
- With burlap and sometimes wire basket still on, place the plant in the hole with the root ball resting on the firm ground. Make sure the top of the rootball is slightly higher than ground level.
- Adjust the plant for symmetry, adding a little backfill around the base to hold the plant in place.
- The burlap or wire basket can be removed or remain in place. Over time burlap decays and the cage should not be an issue to root restriction. If you choose to remove, cut with a bolt cutter or sharp knife removing twine and cutting slits in the burlap on the top and sides of the root ball.
- Check to see the plant or tree is straight, then continue backfilling with amended soil, chopping and lighting tapping.
- When half filled, you can lighting water the added backfill.
- Continue filling until the soil level reaches the shoulder of the root ball, but not the top.
- Once finished planting, place 1-3″ if good quality mulch on top of the planting area and on top of the root ball
- Make sure the mulch is not against the trunk of the tree
- The mulch area should resemble a donut around the plant.
The mulch keeps roots cooler, suppresses weeds, and helps maintain even soil moisture and it looks good!