Tree Planting Diagram

Urban Forestry
  1. Planting hole should be about twice the diameter of the container, root ball or root spread so that the roots can grow easily in the 'loosened' soil.
  2. Prune off dead, diseased, broken or twisted roots on bare root plants.
  3. Usually, soil dug from the planting hole is satisfactory for back filling. In sandy soil, amending with 1/2 peat moss or well rotted manure to 3/4 topsoil may be beneficial.  Break up large clumps and discard any debris or stones.
  4. Remove burlap from 1/3 of root ball on balled and burlap trees after tree is placed in planting hole.  Remove any containers before planting.  Remove all twine or rope from around the trunk.
  5. The original ground level in the nursery (the soil line on bare root trees or the top of the root ball) should be 1-2" above the finished ground level where planted. 
  6. Water down planting soil several times while back filling roots to eliminate air pockets.
  7. Mulch at least a 30" diameter area around the tree trunk with wood chips, bark, coarse gravel or small rock.
  8. Staking the tree may be necessary on taller, whippy trees.  Use wooden 2x2's or steel pipe.  Run wire through rubber hose to protect tree trunk.
  9. Trim off all dead or broken branches after planting.  Trim side branches back approximately 1/3 of the length to a bud or twig junction. Do not remove central leader.
  10. Water thoroughly after planting.  Water thoroughly once every 7-10 days for at least two growing seasons (a thorough water should wet the soil to a depth of at least 24").  More frequent watering may keep the soil too wet and rot the roots on newly planted trees.  Automatic lawn sprinklers that run every 3-4 days can drown your tree if the soil remains wet constantly.  In this case, plant the tree a little higher and slope the soil away from the tree trunk so that water will run off away from the tree.