Follow these steps and you will nurture a healthy, vibrant tree that will provide years of outdoor enjoyment and sanctuary.
- Locate all underground utilities before digging. Call 8-1-1 first.
- Identify the trunk flare, the area where the trunk expands at the base of the tree. This point should be partially visible after the tree has been planted.
- Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Holes should be 2-3 times wider than the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball.
- Remove the container or cut away the wire basket. Inspect the container tree root ball for circling roots; straighten, cut, or remove them.
- Place the tree at the proper height. Take care to dig the hole to the correct depth and no deeper. If the tree is planted too deep, new roots will have difficulty developing because of a lack of oxygen.
- Straighten the tree in the hole. Before backfilling, have someone view the tree from several directions to confirm it is straight.
- Fill the hole gently but firmly. Pack soil around the base of the root ball to stabilize it. Fill the remainder of the hole, firmly packing soil to eliminate air pockets that may dry roots. Further reduce air pockets by watering periodically while backfilling. Avoid fertilization at the time of planting.
- Stake the tree if necessary. (Trees actually establish more quickly and develop stronger trunk and root systems if they are not staked at the time of planting.)
- Mulch the base of the tree.
- After planting, keep the soil moist but not water-logged. Water trees at least weekly, barring rain, and more frequently during hot, windy weather.
Proper Tree Planting