Planting Trees and Shrubs

To ensure healthy trees, start with right tree in the right location. Once you select a tree suited for your site and its microcliamate, be sure to plant the tree correctly.

Incorrect Planting Examples

  • Crossing branches not pruned.
  • Damaged branches not pruned or removed.
  • Unnecessary tree wrap.
  • Tree label not removed.
  • Tree Planted too deep.
  • Ropes left around trunk.
  • Black plastic mulch smothering roots.
  • Wire basket not removed
  • No soil pedestal. Water accumulates in bottom of planting hole, not enough oxygen for roots.
  • Leader has been pruned.
  • Buds have been pruned.
  • Branch with narrow crotch angle not removed.
  • Short stake at angle, unprotected guy wires.
  • Tree staked for more than one year.
  • Deep mulch retaining excess moisture against trunk.
  • Hightly amended soil has settled, sinking root ball, water collects.
  • Hole not wide enough.
  • Stake drive through root ball.
  • Treated burlap not removed or slit for root extension

Correct Planting Tips

  • Light pruning: rubbing, crossed or damaged branches are removed.
  • Trunk protected by loose tree guard, taken off after one year.
  • Only existing soil used as backfill.
  • Planting hole 2-3 times root ball width, depth same as root ball.
  • Leader left unpruned
  • Less potentially damaging nylon or plastic guying
  • Stake (if needed) driven into soil outside root ball, removed after one year.
  • 2" - 3" organic mulch applied well away from trunk, no black plastic mulch layer.
  • All ropes removed, top half of burlap and wire basket removed, burlap slit for root extension.

The Perfect Planting Hole

  • Partially backfill, water to settle soil, then finish backfilling hole.
  • Widen and score hole wall.
  • Leave solid soil pedestal.
  • Do not dig deeper than root ball depth.
  • Unamended Backfill soil (no peat, bark, sand, etc.)
  • Area for water drainage (pipe or tile could be installed)

Your Finished Planting

  • Remove tags and labels.
  • Do not stake trunk unless the tree has a large crown, or the planting is situated on a windy site or where people may push them over.
  • Stake for a maximum of one year. NOTE: Evergreens rarely require staking
  • Prune basal suckers.
  • Spread roots out over soil pedestal evenly before filling.
  • Do not prune terminal leader or branch tips.
  • Prune any codominat leaders or narrow crotch angles.
  • Prune rubbing or crossed branches.
  • Prune any broken branches.
  • Add 2" - 3" of mulch kept away from trunk.
  • Soak soil well, making sure no air pockets form between roots, then apply mulch.