So you have chosen a tree for your yard and taken into consideration the size it will grow to and made sure it will survive and thrive in your climate.

If you have not dug a hole for your tree is will be your first task. I dig my holes for trees in stages so my back does not tire as fast. It also gives me a chance to see if the soil in this area drains well. I will often pour a bucket of water in the hole to see if it holds water…not a good sign. You need good drainage for the tree roots.

When your hole is dug you can check to make sure the hole is the proper size for the tree. If its too shallow the tree will not get enough water to the upper roots and if its too deep it will be hard on the tree trunk. Both situations will affect the trees growth.

Note: A rule of thumb is to measure the root ball and plan on digging a hole that’s 6 inches wider and deeper than it. This applies for bare root plants too, but I prefer root ball trees and shrubs.

I use some of the soil I dug out of the hole to make a little bed for the base of the root ball in the hole. Tamp it down hard. This will balance your tree while you finish the rest of the planting.

Lower the balled root, which is still covered, into the hole. Carefully Position the tree so that the top of the root ball will sit just under the ground when it’s level. Many people plant the root ball too deep.

The tree may be heavy so be careful when you place the tree root ball on the base you made in the bottom of the planting hole. You don’t want to strain your back. A second pair of hands may be wise. The base must be firm to hold the tree in place.

Now it’s time to remove the wrappings and any clips from the root ball. You will also cut back the natural burlap and twine around the sides of the root ball. You can leave it with the tree in the hole and bury it when you fill in the hole. It’s not necessary to remove burlap from the bottom of the root ball because 98 percent of root growth will be on the sides.

Fill the hole halfway with the soil and tamp it lightly to remove any air pockets. Make sure the tree or shrub is standing straight up. I also add a little water at this time to make sure any air pockets are gone and that the soil compacts as much as it can.

Now I mix the rest of the soil that is left with some additional peat and compost. I add about 1/3 more of peat and compost to the soil and finish filling the hole. Water the tree thoroughly to make sure it has settled and that all air pockets are gone. Add any additional soil that may be needed, Tamp the soils well and enjoy the look of your new tree.
Note: I usually stake my trees at first. It makes sure that the tree stands tall and prevents it moving in a high windstorm. Use flat tree straps made of a soft material. Make sure to leave enough slack for some sway in the winds.

Trees add years on enjoyment to a yard. They also add value to your property and homes for wildlife. Here is an additional post that will help you choose a tree for your yard:

Tags: How to plant a tree, planting a tree