How to Plant a Tree
Locate all underground utilities prior to planting!
Dig a bowl shaped planting hole (sloping soil to grade) at least nine inches wider than the sides of the root ball on trees up to two and one-half inches in diameter. Dig the hole at least fifteen inches wider than the sides of the root ball for trees over two and one-half inches in diameter. Loosen or rough up the sides of the hole so roots can easily penetrate into the surrounding soil. The hole should only be deep enough so the top of the root ball is about one inch above grade for every one inch in diameter of the tree’s trunk. For example, a two-inch trunk diameter tree should be at least two inches above grade or even higher in our clay soils. The bottom of the root ball must be supported by firm soil to prevent settling.
Place the tree into the hole by lifting it by the root ball, best sides showing to the prevailing view. Fill the hole halfway with the soil that was removed, adding water and letting it soak in. If the soil needs amending, add up to a third part compost or peat moss to the existing site soil. On deciduous trees remove any roping, the top ring of the wire basket, the burlap from the top of the root ball and any ribbons or tags. On evergreens all ropes, wire basket and burlap should remain intact due to the evergreen’s fragile root structure; just remove any tags or ribbons. Next, fill the hole the rest of the way and water again. (Option: incorporate Plant Starter or Root Starter at time of planting.)
Staking is not necessary in most landscape situations. Studies have shown trees will establish more quickly and develop stronger trunk and root systems if they are not staked. However, staking may be required on sites with windy conditions. Two stakes used in conjunction with a wide flexible tie material will hold the tree upright, provide flexibility and minimize injury to the tree trunk.
Remove stakes and ties after the first year of growth.
Mulch reduces competition from grass and weeds, moderates soil temperatures and holds in moisture. Mulch an area at least three foot in diameter around the base of the tree. The mulch should be only two to three inches deep since excessive mulching may actually hinder a plant’s growth and invite pests and fungal diseases. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the tree trunk.
Keep pruning to a minimum until after a full season of growth. Of course any branches broken in transport or planting should be pruned.
THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR PLANT LOSS. Too much water may be as harmful to your new tree as too little water. Do not over-water or leave the soil saturated for a long period of time. One inch of water/rain per week for newly planted trees is the general rule. To determine actual moisture content, dig four to eight inches into the soil with a trowel or shovel. If the soil is dry at this depth, it is time to irrigate! Thank you for choosing Siebenthaler’s!