Tree planting preparation

Tree Planting Tips

  • Plant the top of the root ball slightly above ground level. The root collar (flare) must be visible one inch above final grade.
  • Set root ball on solid ground and not on loose backfill in the hole; this eliminates settling.
  • Remove at least the top 1/2 of all wire and baskets from balled and burlapped trees; completely remove containers from containerized stock.
  • Adding peat moss or manure to soil in the planting hole is not necessary. (Too much can cause a “potted tree” effect and restrict root growth.) Backfill the hole with the original soil.
  • Do not fertilize at planting time.
  • Optimum planting periods are from March 15 to June 15 and from September 1 to October 15.
  • Use mulch three to four inches deep, pull back six inches from the trunk of the tree, and extend the mulch ring one foot beyond the root ball. This will protect roots, hold soil moisture, reduce weed growth and provide a protective strip to eliminate mechanical damage from lawnmowers and weed eaters. Porous landscape cloth may be placed between the soil and the mulch. Do not use plastic. Keep grass and weeds out of mulched areas as they compete for the same resources as your new tree.
  • If necessary, stake tree properly to keep root ball from shifting. The main tree stem must be able to sway slightly; if it is too rigid, root growth, diameter of stem and height growth will be adversely affected.
  • Use wide straps to tie trees to stakes. Do not use wire, string, rope or rubber hose around tree.
  • Remove stakes and straps after roots are established, usually one or two growing seasons.
  • Keep soil moist but not saturated.