Planting a tree or shrub

Planting a tree or shrub

Planting a tree increases the earth’s leafy canopy. According to the USDA, “one acre of forest absorbs six tons of CO2 and emits four tons of oxygen.” This is enough to feed 18 people for a year. ” Trees are beautiful, add value to your home, give shade and refuge for wildlife. Planting correctly is important to their long-term survival.

Holing Up

Planting too deep kills trees and plants. Follow these simple procedures to ensure proper planting depth for B&B and potted trees.

Find where the trunk extends out to connect the roots. Remove twine and burlap from B & B trees. To find the flare, gently push the earth away from the trunk’s base.

From the root mass to the trunk flare, take your measurement.Dig no deeper than this; the root mass has to rest on undisturbed soil. After planting, the trunk flare should be slightly above soil grade.

Dig a hole that is two to three times bigger than the root ball or container. Gradually slope the sides outward to match the existing soil level.


Backfilling has evolved in recent years. It used to be common to enrich the backfill soil with compost, peat moss, aged manure, and other materials, but now it is considered best practice to leave it alone or provide minimum amendments. Instead of staying in the planting hole, roots expand out into the natural soil.

Backfill with mycorrhizal fungus. The root-associated mycorrhizal fungus helps plants obtain minerals and water from the soil. Mycorrhizal-enhanced root systems help trees and shrubs adapt better to stressful situations. Bone meal is rich in nutrients that strengthen roots and encourage plant growth.


Move your plant into the planting hole gently. Use a burlap or wire cage to lift B&B trees and bushes. Pick up potted plants by the container. Take care not to damage the plant. Preventing root evaporation before and during planting is essential.

B&B bushes

Place the tree in the hole. Straighten or stabilize the tree by correcting or backfilling beneath the root ball.

Remove any twine or burlap from the trunk’s base and any burlap from the rootball’s top. If necessary, remove soil from the rootball to expose the trunk flare.

Remove the wire basket with bolt cutters. Remove the wire basket in sections. Plants grow in holes with a little basket left in them. Remove any rope and twine from the rootball, as well as any burlap nails. Pull back the burlap and trim any excess. It’s fine to break down burlap in the hole. Enlarging plastic or treated burlap

Potted plants

Turn the container on its side and remove the plant. Lift the root mass, not the plant, into the hole. If the plant is pot-bound, the container may need to be cut before it can be removed.

Tease the soil’s outer roots to promote root growth. If the roots are tangled, score the root mass with a knife to gently release it. This will not hurt the plant and promote root growth.

Replumbing and watering the planter

Backfill the planting hole with earth until it reaches the root ball. Firmly press your feet or hands into the earth.Verify that the trunk is vertical and that the trunk flare will be slightly above grade after backfilling. Backfill and pack it down to the root ball’s top, not covering the trunk flare.

Make a 3-4″ high earthen ridge around the planting hole.This berm will contain irrigation water and direct it to the roots. Fill the basin with water, then soak it several times. Or, let the water trickle for 15–30 minutes to moisten the entire root zone. The goal is to evenly hydrate the soil and remove any significant air pockets.

Check that the trunk flare is fully exposed and that the root ball is not buried. Remove any tree tags or labels.


2″–3″ of bark mulch or pine straw over the entire planting hole. Mulching saves water and keeps weeds out. Taper the mulch toward the tree’s base but not touching the trunk.


Staking is not usually required. When deciding whether or not to stake, consider the rootball’s stability, trunk size and strength, wind direction, canopy size and density. If in doubt, consult a nursery expert.


During the first year of growth, we do not advocate fertilizing newly planted trees.


Moisture is vital for your young tree or shrub’s survival.

The roots should never be fully dry or wet. How to test soil moisture? Make a mark. Dig 2″ to 4″ outside the plant’s root mass and water if the soil is dry. For the first two weeks, examine and water newly planted shrubs and trees every other day. Water only once a week after the first two weeks if less than an inch of rain falls.Thorough soaks that reach the root mass are preferable to regular light waterings.

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