How To Plant A Tree
So you’ve bought yourself a tree and you’re ready to plant.
Check out our tutorial on how to plant a tree:
Step 1: Prepare the soil for planting by leveling out the ground
You want to plant on a level surface so water reaches the roots evenly and the tree establishes a well dispersed root system.
Step 2: Use a stake or a stick to get an idea of ideal tree placement
Imagine planting your tree only to find out it’s going to hit that power line once it matures. Using a stake or a placeholder to visualize the tree placement will help you select the perfect place to plant your tree.
Tip: Visualize the tree in maturity. Do you foresee any issues (power lines, fences, neighbours having to rake up leaves from an overhanging tree)? Does it balance with the plants in the area?
Step 3: Dig a hole 2-3 times the width of the pot and deep enough to hold the pot
Step 4: Shift the root ball out of the pot. Make a few cuts along the root ball and rough up the roots.
It’s important to interrupt the circular growth patterns of the roots within the pot because it could lead to girdling (when roots end up strangling the tree). Use an exacto knife to cut the bottom of the root ball in a giant “X” or just cut any roots you see growing in a circular trajectory. It’s okay, you won’t hurt the tree!
Step 5: Give the root ball a good water as you fill the hole with soil
This step ensures that the root ball settles into the hole and any added soil gets packed firmly around the root ball. You don’t want the tree to be shifting around in the hole or easily knocked over.
Step 6: Fill the hole with soil
Refill the hole and add in some new soil if you have it available. Make sure the soil doesn’t go past the root collar (the little notch at the base of the tree right before the roots start).
Step 7: Level out the ground around the tree so water doesn’t run off
This step is especially important if planting on a slope. Your tree needs water to penetrate deep into the soil so it reaches the roots! It won’t be able to do this if the water drains away from the tree.
Step 8: Create an area where water can pool a little bit
Tip: Give your tree lots of water at time of planting. It’s going through a major life change so it needs an extra little pick-me-up : )
After Planting Care:
- Water your new tree 2-3 times per week (more often in hot weather) for 5 mins with a garden hose on ½ household pressure.
Watering deeply, thoroughly and only as needed will encourage a deep and healthy root system. Since roots grow where oxygen and water are most available, short and frequent watering will result in the development of a shallow root system which you want to avoid.
- Adding a layer of wood-chip mulch around your newly planted tree will help retain soil moisture and temperature.
Wood-chip mulch has been shown to double the growth of a tree in the first couple of years after planting.
Tip: Avoid using fertilizer at time of planting. Fertilization is ineffective until the tree has partially established its own root system. Wait 6 months after planting before adding fertilizer to the soil.