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How to Plant a Tree

Hole, including "pedestal", soil, and root balls. Stake as shown, if necessary.

Planting a [tree isn't as simple as just digging a hole and throwing the tree in it. If you want the tree you're planting to survive and thrive, here's what to do.

Steps
Select the right time of year for planting the tree. Do not plant in late spring or summer because the heat will stress the plant and may cause it to die. The best time to plant a tree is fall (autumn) or early spring. While planting at the end of May is not the best time, Pot Spring has had great success because we can depend on our families to come and water over the summer. Just look up on the ridge behind the school to see how well the 29 trees planted in 2007 have done! Choose a suitable tree for the region, climate, and space.  Research local cultivars of species native to your area. If you will plant a non-native species, consider carefully why. We have chosen all native trees which will do well in our area.

This prevents water from collecting next to the base of the trunk which causes the tree to rot. Take a suitable shovel and dig a hole that is 2-3 times the width of the root ball. not just enough so it will fit. The hole should be a little deeper around the edges but there should be a pedestal of dirt in the center where the root ball sits.Dig a large hole. Prepare the hole. Slightly higher means 1/4 to 1/2 inch. This lets the roots ease in more easily and begin to grow outwards into the soil. Under the burlap .  Try to dig the hole with a small "pedestal" of dirt in the center of the hole where the tree will rest. meaning the tree is getting too much water and the root ball is sitting in a pool of water. Any excess water will naturally flow to the deeper areas of the hole around the edges where the roots can drink from if needed. The point where the tree comes out of the ground should be slightly higher than the ground around it. This pedestal prevents the root ball from sitting continuously in water. Use the garden cultivator to loosen the dirt all around the hole to make it easier for the roots to spread. It also allows you to cut off the wire root basket if there is one. Having a pedestal in the center of the hole is very important since one of the major reasons why trees die is "drowning".  Removing the burlap.

The ground level of the plant in the pot should match up with the ground level after you fill the hole in. Put it in the hole. Place the tree into the hole gently. even inside the root ball. Don't leave a tree's roots out of its container or burlap for too long. Especially in sun and wind.  You can place the handle of your shovel flat across the hole from one side to the other to measure whether the crown is level with the surrounding soil before filling in the hole. Avoid handling the tree with the burlap off.  Place the tree into the hole so that the crown will be level with or slightly higher than the soil. If the tree is larger and has a net or a hessian or rope bag. Be sure the hole isn't too deep or too shallow. then you can turn it upside down gently to get it out of the pot. . it could dry out and damage the roots. Do not bury over the crown (where the stem changes to root) or leave any roots exposed. you might need to use large scissors or a sharp knife to cut through the packaging. then cut as much of the wire basket and burlap as you can from around it.Prepare the tree for planting. The goal is to keep as much dirt around the roots as possible. moving the tree more than absolutely necessary can easily cause air to get to the roots and dry them out. The process is slightly different for a small tree and a large tree:   If it is a small tree. You could also cut some plastic containers to remove them.

Give fruit and nut trees extra attention. mulch! Cover the planting hole with 1-3 inches (2. . Apply mulch. A few inches are enough to keep water in and most weeds out. mulch. however. Allow settling. has clay-like qualities or if it has the consistency of dust or sand. either. Water one gallon (3. one quarter with compost or composted manure. Don't overmulch the tree. about the same width as the tree's leaves. Backfill two thirds of the hole with existing dirt and one third with compost or composted manure for each fruit or nut tree. and water again. Keep the mulch 2-3" away from the trunk or the trunk will rot. is an organic mixture that includes micorrhizae. A great benefit to new trees.6 cm) of shredded hardwood or leaf mulch. backfill the remaining soil. Water the newly planted tree. Mulch. Resist the temptation to use a commercial fertilizer.7 liters) for every six inches (15 cm) of tree height. Adding manure or compost is essential if you are planting a fruit or nut tree. Backfill three quarters of the hole with existing dirt. It may also include rock phosphate. beneficial bacteria that enhance a tree's uptake of soil nutrients. If the soil that you currently have is not rich. a natural root-growth enhancer.Compost or manure will help Use some compost or composted manure if needed.5 cm .7. it tends to overboost the tree and make it less likely to do well over the long term. This will eliminate air pockets. the addition of manure or compost will give the tree a great start in life. Mulch a circle out to the drip line.

To form deep roots. your family and friends. Enjoy the tree as it grows over the years with you. Depending on the climate and your area. slow trickle of water will water more deeply than a quick sprinkling. Remove the stakes once the roots have a chance to become established. Keep watering your tree for the first few years as it gets established. A long. after about the first year. Remember. your family and friends. Let the ground dry out. Water it again. water deeply. Appreciate its shade and beauty and thank yourself for adding another tree to the world. between watering. Make sure that whatever stakes you use are tied loosely to the trunk and do not dig into the bark or tighten around the tree. for about the first year. After the planting is finished come back in about an hour and water one more time. and it can also help to remind people moving around the tree not to run into it. Staking protects the tree against blowing over in the wind. Stake the tree if necessary. it will need weekly watering until the roots are established. at least somewhat. deep roots help your tree to be resist droughts and winds. A visible patch of mulch also helps remind people not to step or mow or run a string trimmer too close to the tree. . Enjoy the tree as it grows over the years with you.

Refresh annually.  When planting a container tree.  Water your tree weekly for the first year. or according to package directions. garden centers. . either in your own container or directly in the ground. Water 2-3 quarts (2 . the little oak tree now.  Compost is available in 40lb (18. make sure that all its leaves are green and not drooping. It is very important that the roots make immediate contact with the backfill soil.10cm) of organic material improves the soil.mulch.  If you are planting fruit or nut trees for a small home orchard. mulch! 2-4 inches (5 cm .  Either plant it farther away.  Consider the mature height and spread of the tree.  When buying your tree. make vertical cuts.Edit Tips  This article is about transplanting a tree that was grown in a container. mulch.3 liters) for every foot in height (about 3 liters per meter) . They will grow back. planted a short distance from your house. If they are circling too much to do that. a five foot sapling should get 10 to 15 quarts (9. could become a hazard during storms 30 years from now. It is also possible to start most trees from a seed. moderates soil temperature and conserves moisture. as your crop depends on consistent irrigation. or plant a tree that will mature to something smaller.  One more time .5 14 liters) every week.1 kg) bags from most nurseries. So. Fertilize fruit and nut trees monthly. continue to water weekly for the life of the tree. or hardware stores. tease out the roots into the planting hole.

Other jurisdictions may have similar systems in place to protect the wiring and cabling that runs through your property. injury.  Do not plant the tree too deep! Match the soil level from the potted tree with the new planting in the ground. the roots will tend not to leave the planting hole as quickly. .  Do not step or walk on the finished planting hole. It is best if the roots spread.  Water the plant everyday till it is able to survive on it's own. Covering up the trunk with extra soil can cause rot. The planting hole should be no deeper than the height of the root ball or pot. and fines. You may incur fines in other jurisdictions also if you dig and break cabling and wiring.Edit Warnings  In the US.  Be careful using your shovel. Walking on soil covering tree roots causes soil compaction. helping to prevent damage. Mulch will help reduce soil compaction. If the backfill soil differs from the surrounding soil too much. it is possible to call 811 before you dig.  Do not amend the backfill soil excessively. One call to 811 gets your underground utility lines marked for free.

1 kg bags from most nurseries. or hardware stores) . garden centers.Edit Things You'll Need          Shovel Tree Place to plant your tree Scissors (optional) Knife (optional) Watering can Popular brand of slow release fertilizer (optional) Measuring sticks Compost or composted manure (available in 40 lb / 18.