How to Plant Your Trees and Shrubs

Diagram 1

The best times to plant trees and shrubs are in the spring and fall. The weather is cool, making it easier for plants to establish their roots and the watering requirements are far less than in the summer. Follow these simple instructions to get your nursery items into the ground.

  1. Dig a hole almost as deep as the plant's root system and twice as wide while loosening the soil surrounding the hole.
  2. Set the plant in the hole so that the root ball sits 2" higher than the existing grade. If the plant is pot bound, score the roots with a sharp blade or knife. Do not remove the burlap from the root ball unless the burlap is non-biodegradeable.
  3. Untie the string around the top of the root ball and remove any plastic strings completely. Do not remove the wire basket.
  4. Amend the existing soil dug from the hole with peat moss, cow manure or compost. Add one shovel full of soil amending material to three shovel fulls of existing soil.
  5. Diagram 1
  6. Firm the soil around the base of the plant with your hands.
  7. Make a shallow water basin 3-4" deep using soil or mulch. The basin diameter needs to be approximately 1 1/2 times the root ball size.
  8. Fill the basin with water 2-3 times, saturating the root system. Continue to water on a regular basis using this method. For a guideline on amounts, please refer to the Watering Guide below.
  9. Make sure to apply a root stimulant. If you have questions, please ask our staff about the fertilizer requirements for your particular plant.
  10. Complete your planting by mulching with a 1-2" layer of bark or other material to help maintain moisture. Make sure to keep your mulch 2-3" away from the trunk or stems of your plant.

Watering Guide

Requirements will vary depending upon soil and weather conditions, but plants should not be allowed to dry out or sit in standing water.

Size of Container Amount of Water to Apply
1 Gallon 1 Gallon
2 Gallon 3 Gallons
3 Gallon 5 Gallons
5 Gallon 6 Gallons
Small Balled & Burlap 6 Gallons
10 Gallon 10 Gallons
Large Balled & Burlap 15+ Gallons

Appropriate watering is critical to the health and survival of your plant. Plants act like an umbrella, shredding water away from the root. Water even when it rains!