Planting our trees is not difficult, and we are often asked by industry professionals on how to properly plant our root-pruned trees. The planting process is much easier than planting a B&B tree, but yet very important to do properly for the tree’s health, survivability, and to enjoy the real magnificence of these tree specimens.
Medium to well-drained soil is generally best for trees. Amending (mixing) clay soils 25% – 30% thoroughly with a lighter compost or organic matter around and under the rootball to lighten up the soil and add air and water porosity is very important.
We have successfully used Organic Mechanics, Master Gardener, and Osmocote Plant Starter II. These generally have the mycorrhizae already added in their mix. Any top garden center should have one of these available.
Mix it well into the current soil! This gives the tree a nutritional head-start, water retention, and the oxygen necessary for the roots to breathe and grow.
Planting a tree in a location with frequent sitting water will kill a tree. Trees must have well aerated soil which is amended with a lighter organic mix to improve water drainage, but also to allow oxygen into the soil for better root development.
The size of the planting hole is determined by the size of the rootball. Dig the hole at least 1 1/2 times the width of the rootball and 2-3 inches deeper than the rootball. Remember that tree roots generally grow horizontally in the top 12″-15″ of the soil. This added space around and under the rootball is primarily where the mixed or ‘amended’ soil goes to add nutrients for the tree.
Our 10 Gal tree bag is approximately 18″ in diameter and 12″ in height. The 7 Gal tree bag is approximately 14″ in diameter and 11″ in height. Our 15 Gal tree bag is approximately 21″ in diameter and 14″ in height.
Wet the planting hole with the amended soil included first, before planting the tree. Remove (cut off) the tree bag, and keep the tree rootball well watered before placing the tree in the hole. By doing this you are placing a moist rootball… into moist soil to lessen any planting shock. Taller trees over 6′ will need staking with (3) 5′ strong wood stakes to prevent from blowing over in high winds.
The planting depth of the tree is also critical. Never plant a tree too deep! If you plant the tree at the same soil depth as you see on top of the rootball (or better yet, 1/2 inch higher) and you will be fine. The goal is to keep the root flare (where the tree trunk base widens at the roots) above the soil.
Adding 2″ – 3″ layer of mulch above the soil in a 36″ circle (or larger) around the tree trunk above the rootball helps retain soil/root moisture and keeps the hot sun or wind from drying out the soil. Be sure to not pile mulch up around the tree trunk.
Watering a newly planted tree is critical to the tree’s survival. We recommend watering the ground in a 2′ radius (4′ circumference) with a hose around the tree as needed every other day for the first two months. Depending on the time of year and weather, each tree should take 1-2 minutes of a medium ‘shower spray’ (not jet spray) directly to the soil around a 4′ circumference base of the tree.
Remember, the tree rootball has many hundreds of tender feeder roots in a well drained organic mix, so it will absorb the water quickly on hot or windy days, but the organic mix also drains quickly and must be regularly replenished.
A lot of special effort, time, and attention has gone into growing these fine specimens for the buyer. All of the hard work has been done for you. Planting these great trees is not the time to take short cuts. Planting our trees properly will reward the customer and the trees with a healthy life.