Planting Trees

           Signature Gardens                                  
                                   The signature of God is written in flowers

When planting trees, never add anything to the planting hole except the soil that came out of the hole.  Amending the planting hole basically creates a "container" in the ground.  The tree roots may not want to move beyond the nice cushy soil of the "container," and when the roots hit the native soil, they may circle back, eventually girdling the tree.  

Dig a wide hole not deeper than the height of the root ball, and loosen or break up the sides of the hole with a shovel or rake.   Take the tree out of the container, scrape the top couple inches of soil off the top of the root ball until you can see the flare of the trunk.  (I just use a broom to brush the soil away).  That is the top of the root ball.   Break up any roots encircling the root ball.  If the tree is really root bound, you may need to slice into the sides of the root ball with a shovel or knife.  

Place the tree in the planting hole with the top of the root ball (the flare of the trunk) a couple inches ABOVE your soil grade.   Backfill around the root ball, once again, only with the soil that was dug out of the planting hole.   Add root stimulator and water well to settle the soil.  

Add compost to the TOP of the root ball area if needed, feathering it out to your surrounding soil grade.  Then mulch around the tree, taking care to not cover the trunk flare.  During the first year or two, you will need to give your tree supplemental water during hot, dry weather.  Water slowly and deeply to encourage deep root development. 


NOTE:   If you are planting a Shumard Red Oak or Chinese Pistachio, you will need to wrap the trunk with tree wrap (see below) for two years to prevent sun scald and borer attack.

It is not necessary, however, to stake trees after planting, unless you have a high wind situation that may cause the tree to uproot before it is established.  Trees will establish a stronger root system if not staked.  If staking is necessary, be sure to remove all staking material after about one year.