Landscaping Tips – What You Need to Know Before You Plant a Tree

Planting a tree isn’t as easy as just digging a hole. There are some things you need to know before planting your tree in order for it to thrive. Here are some basic steps for you to remember when planting a tree.

Make the Right Hole Size For Your New Tree

Many make the mistake of digging a hole too deep and not wide enough. This will deny the roots access to oxygen that supports proper growth. Don’t plant any tree deeper than the soil in which it was originally grown. Dig the hole at least 3x wider than the container or the root ball’s width. If you are digging a hole in poorly drained clay soil, it’s vital for your tree that the sides and bottom of the hole are not smooth. If smooth, this will form a water barrier that will not allow your roots to get the proper amount of water. To prevent this, use a forked rake to work on the bottom and sides of the soil.

What to Type of Container Is Your Tree is Currently In?

  • Burlap Wrapping – If you buy a tree that’s balled and wrapped in burlap, you will not need to plant it right away as long as you keep the rootball moist and store in a shady area up to 3 days. However, planting it right away is best, but it will be okay for a few days. Lift the balled and burlap-wrapped tree by the roots, not the trunk. Once you have it moved to the correct location, completely remove the burlap if it’s synthetic burlap. If natural burlap, you can remove it or pull back the top third. Be sure to remove any twine or string. Fill around the roots with a combination of top soil, peat moss, and composted manure (Backfill Soil). Do not compress the backfill soil, this can prevent water from reaching the roots.
  • Container Tree – If your tree is in a plastic container, then remove the container completely. If it’s a fiber container, you can tear out the side back. Once you have carefully removed the container, check the roots. If they are compressed use your fingers to gently separate the finer roots from the mass. Spread the roots before planting is vital to your tree’s life. Once you have your tree positioned in the hole, use backfill soil to fill up the hole to the height of the container it was in. Do not compress the soil. Gently pat with your hands, not your feet or any gardening tools.

Water Your Newly Planted Tree Immediately

Be sure to water your tree weekly during the first growing season. Water more frequently during hot summer weather. Be sure to not over water it though, because this can deprive the tree of oxygen. Deep waterings are recommended instead of frequent shallow waterings. You want the water to reach about a foot below the surface of the soil.

Don’t Forget to Mulch

Top your newly planted tree with pine bark or chips to a depth of 3-4 inches. This will conserve the moisture and promote air penetration.


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