How to Plant a Tree or Shrub
Planting trees on your property can have several benefits. They provide shade and cooling in summer, block the wind in winter, are natural shelters for birds and small animals, and can even increase your property value. To ensure the tree you plant does well and thrives, it must be planted properly. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Careful consideration should be given before choosing and planting a tree or shrub. You’re going to have it for many years, so it is important to consider what your needs and expectations are. You will want to consider how much room you have, the shape and size of the tree or shrub once it reaches maturity, and the function it will provide in your yard. For optimal growth and health, it is best to choose one that grows well in your local climate and soil. If you are unsure of what is suitable for your needs, visit our outdoor sales yard for advice.
When to Plant
Deciduous trees should be planted in the spring once the ground has thawed, or in the fall until the ground freezes. Some trees will winter better if planted in the spring, so keep this is mind when planning to plant.
Coniferous trees should be planted in the spring once the ground has thawed until about a month after deciduous trees have opened their leaves, or in the fall from about mid-August to mid-October.
Shrubs should also be planted in the spring or fall.
Trees and shrubs can be planted in the summer; however, keep in mind that hot, dry weather can cause them to become stressed.
After you have decided the best tree or shrub for you and know the right time to plant, you can begin the planting process-
Dig a Hole
Dig a hole in the desired location that is about 12″ wider than the plant’s root ball or container. It is best to dig the sides of the hole deeper than the middle. This allows for proper drainage during watering. The middle part of the hole should be dug deep enough so that when the root ball sits on it the root ball is flush with surrounding turf. Dig the hole slightly deeper than needed and fill the bottom with fresh soil.
Place Tree or Shrub
If your tree or shrub came in a pot, gently remove the pot by laying the plant on its side. If it came in a burlap sack, there is no need to remove it because the plants roots will push through it as it is decomposing. You must, however, remove any twine that is holding it together. Gently place your plant in the hole you dug being careful not to damage the roots. If the root ball has become too tightly wound, you may want to loosen it carefully to encourage it to find new soil. If you are planting in the summer, do not loosen the root ball too much or the plant will go into shock.
Back fill the hole around the root ball with the soil that you removed initially. You can amend the soil with about one cubic foot (per tree) of peat moss, compost, or topsoil. Liquid or granular upstart may be added at this time as well. We always recommend Myke Tree & Shrub. See our section on Myke to find out what it is and how it works.
After you have properly planted your tree or shrub, it is essential to water it. You should insert a garden hose into the backfill and slowly fill the hole with water. If the soil is already saturated from a recent rainfall, it is best to wait a day or two. All newly-planted trees and shrubs should be watered on an as-needed basis throughout their entire first season. Always check the surrounding soil to see if watering is necessary before watering. One major reason new plants fail is overwatering. This can be avoided by making sure you always dig down a few inches around the plant to ensure the ground under the top layer of soil is not holding too much water.