How to Plant a Tree or Shrub, Tree-Planting, Bushes

How to Plant a Tree or Shrub, Tree-Planting, Bushes

How to plant a tree

Whenever you plant a tree, you have a good time the earth by growing its leafy cover. In line with the U.S. Division of Agriculture, “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and places out 4 tons of oxygen. This is sufficient to meet the annual wants of 18 individuals.” Bushes additionally add magnificence, enhance the worth of your property, present cooling shade and supply shelter for wildlife. Correct planting is essential to their survival and long-term success.

Digging the Gap

Planting too deep is the highest purpose that bushes and shrubs die. Observe these easy steps to make sure the right planting depth for each balled-and-burlapped (B&B) and potted bushes.

  1. Find the purpose at which the trunk flares out to affix the roots. On B&B bushes, take away the twine and burlap on the base of the trunk. If essential, gently push the soil away from the bottom of the trunk to seek out the flare.
  2. Measure the gap from the underside of the basis mass to the trunk flare. Dig the outlet no deeper than this; you need the basis mass to sit down on undisturbed soil. When planting is full, the trunk flare must be barely above the present soil grade.
  3. Dig the outlet two to 3 occasions the diameter of the basis ball or container, sloping the perimeters gently outward to the present soil grade.


The considering on backfill has modified in recent times. Though it was as soon as widespread to change the backfill soil with amendments — similar to compost, peat moss, aged manure and different elements — it’s now thought-about finest follow to depart the backfill unaltered or add minimal amendments. This encourages roots to unfold out into the native soil, moderately than staying throughout the confines of the planting gap.

We do advocate including mycorrhizal fungi and bone meal to the backfill. Mycorrhizal fungi type associations with plant roots and assist them extract and soak up minerals and water from the soil. Bushes and shrubs with mycorrhizal-enhanced root methods adapt higher and are extra tolerant of nerve-racking environments. Bone meal supplies important minerals that promote sturdy root methods and stimulate plant development.


When transferring your plant into the planting gap, disturb the rootball as little as attainable. Elevate B&B bushes and shrubs through the use of the rope, burlap or wire cage on the rootball. Elevate potted vegetation by greedy the container. Do not carry vegetation by the trunk, stems or branches. Do not permit the basis system to dry out earlier than or throughout planting.

B&B bushes and shrubs

  1. Place the tree within the heart of the outlet. If essential, straighten or stabilize the tree by adjusting or filling beneath the basis ball with the backfill combine.
  2. Minimize away any twine or burlap from the bottom of the trunk and take away any burlap that’s on the highest of the rootball. Take away extra soil from the highest of the rootball to reveal the trunk flare, if wanted.
  3. Use bolt cutters to take away as a lot of the wire basket as attainable. Do not attempt to take away all the wire basket. The plant will thrive even when there’s a number of the basket left within the gap. Take away all of the rope and wire from the rootball, in addition to any nails holding the burlap collectively. Pull again the burlap and lower away any free materials. It is OK to depart some burlap within the gap to decompose. Nonetheless, take away all plastic or handled burlap.

Potted bushes and shrubs

  1. Tip the container on its facet and slide the plant from the container. Place the plant within the gap by lifting the basis mass, not the plant itself. If the plant has change into pot-bound, it could be essential to chop the container earlier than the plant will be eliminated.
  2. To encourage root development, tease the outer roots from the soil. If the roots are tightly matted, use a knife to attain the basis mass in a number of locations and gently loosen the basis ball. This may not hurt the plant and can encourage new root development.

Backfilling and watering the planting gap

  1. Add backfill soil to your planting gap till it comes about midway up the basis ball. Use your foot or fingers to agency the soil and eradicate air pockets. Ensure the trunk is vertical and make sure that the trunk flare will sit slight above soil grade as soon as backfilling is full. Proceed including backfill and packing it down till you’ve got reached the highest of the basis ball, taking care to not cowl the trunk flare.
  2. Assemble a 3–4″ excessive ridge of soil across the outer fringe of the planting gap. This berm will create a basin to carry irrigation water and focus it over the roots. Use a hose to fill the basin, then permit the water to soak it, repeating a number of occasions. Or, let the water run at a trickle for 15 to 30 minutes to make sure that all the root zone is moist. The aim is to make sure even watering so the soil is drenched and any giant air pockets are eradicated.
  3. Recheck that the trunk flare is totally uncovered and the highest of the basis ball has not been coated with further soil. Take away any plant tags or labels from the tree.


Apply bark mulch or pine straw to a depth of two–3″ over all the planting gap. Mulching helps preserve water and stop weeds. Taper the mulch towards the bottom of the tree, however don’t permit it to the touch the tree trunk.


Staking at planting time just isn’t at all times essential. Take into account the soundness of the rootball, trunk dimension and energy, route of prevailing winds, cover dimension and density when figuring out whether or not or to not stake. If doubtful, ask a nursery skilled.


We don’t advocate fertilizing newly planted bushes and shrubs throughout their first yr of development.


Correct moisture is essential to the survival of your younger tree or shrub. The roots ought to by no means dry out fully, nor ought to they be waterlogged. The easiest way to examine soil moisture? Use your finger. Dig down 2–4″ simply exterior the basis mass of the plant and water if the soil feels dry. Newly planted shrubs and bushes must be checked and watered each different day for the primary two weeks. After the primary two weeks, restrict watering to as soon as every week if lower than 1″ of rain falls throughout the week. Thorough soakings that moisten the soil to all the depth of the basis mass are higher than frequent mild waterings.

soaker hose coiled around base of a newly planted free-form hydrangea
A newly-planted, tree-form hydrangea with Snip-n-Drip soaker hose for watering.

Use the chart under as a suggestion for the quantity of water wanted by newly planted bushes and shrubs primarily based upon plant dimension. Plant species have various water necessities. Earlier than watering in response to the chart, use your finger to examine precise soil moisture and get conversant in the moisture necessities of your vegetation.

Plant Measurement Quantity of Water per Utility
Small shrub 4-5 gal.
Giant shrub 7-10 gal.
Small bushes (<2" caliper) 7-10 gal.
Giant bushes (>2″ caliper) 10–20 gallons

Water measurements will be made utilizing an outdated 1-gallon plastic milk container. When utilizing a hose, activate the water at a gradual trickle and be aware of the setting. Depend the period of time it takes to fill the 1-gallon container. Multiply that period of time by the variety of gallons you want in your plant. That complete supplies the period of time you could run the hose, primarily based on the chart.

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