Tree Planting Guide

How to plant and water new trees

1. Dig a hole!
Make sure the hole is twice the width of the container but ONLY JUST AS DEEP as the container.

2. Amend the soil!
Use a composted soil amendment to help increase drainage, break up clay, and improve other physical properties of your soil. Mix about half amendment with half of your native soil and reserve for planting.

3. Start it up!
Apply a root stimulator to help your newly planted trees and shrubs establish more quickly and grow bigger and healthier.
Look for products with MYCORRHIZAE, microbes that attach themselves to a plant’s roots, helping the plant absorb water and nutrients better.

4. Plant it in the ground!

  • Remove the plant from its container and place it into the hole.
  • The root crown should be slightly exposed (1"-3") above the soil line.
  • Back fill the hole with amended soil and build a 4" wall around the circumference of the hole to form a fill basin to help capture water.

For balled and burlapped (B&B) trees:

  • You can place B&B plants directly, burlap and all, in the hole.
  • After you're finished placing, remove any twine from the base of the trunk and pull the burlap to the sides of the hole, exposing the root ball and crown.
  • Tuck the burlap down into the hole so it's not exposed above ground.

5. Water it in!

  • Water into the fill basin until the soil is well saturated, filling up the basin multiple times.
  • Use a hose rather than drip irrigation, and don't rely on broadcast sprinklers.
  • Water 1-2 times a week in the Spring and Fall, and 2-3 times a week in the Summer.
  • Apply 10-15 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Monitor during heat and wind, which dry out new plantings.

6. Make a plan!

  • Drip Irrigation is the best way to routinize watering schedules and water trees effectively once the tree becomes established.
  • Winter Watering: Water once a month, following major holidays from Halloween through Easter. Use one to three 5-gallon buckets depending on size, even if there's snow on the ground.