While planting different types of trees differs in the details, all trees eventually end up in a hole. But not any old hole will do.

The most common mistake when planting a tree is a digging hole, which is both too deep and too narrow. Too deep and the roots don’t have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth. Too narrow and the root structure can’t expand sufficiently to nourish and properly anchor the tree.

As a general rule, trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown. The width of the hole should be at least 3 times teh diameter of the root ball or container or the spread of the roots in the case of bare root trees. This will provide the tree with enough worked earth for its root structure to establish itself.

Balled and burlapped (B &B) trees, although best planted as soon as possible can be stored for some time after purchase as long as the ball is kept moist and the tree stored in a shady area. B&B trees should always be lifted by the ball, never by the trunk. The burlap surrounding the ball of earth and roots should either be cut away completely (mandatory in the case of synthetic or plastic burlap) or at least pulled back from the top third of the ball (in the case of natural burlap). Any string or twin should be removed. Backfill soil (combinations of peat moss, composted manure, topsoil, etc.) is then placed in the hole surrounding the tree just to the height of the ball or slightly lower to allow for some settling. Be careful not to compress the back fill soil as this may prevent water from reaching the roots and the roots from expanding beyond the ball.

Fertilizers and Other Soil Amendments for New Trees

Peat moss, compost, and other organic matter can also be added to the original soil. This ensures the proper nutrient and other mineral content that the original soil may be lacking to fully support the growth of a new tree.

After you plant your tree, there are certain products that can be added to the soil to help the roots establish themselves. A root-promoting fertilizer can make a large difference, but ensure that the fertilizer is not simply placed in the planting hole. Fertilize the soil around the planting hole as well to promote root expansion.

Mulching a large area around newly planted trees with 3 to 4 inches of wood chips or bark also conserves soil moisture and moderates soil temperatures. Mulch also inhibits the growth of grass. Grass roots can present seriously competition to the fine absorbing root system of trees since they all grow in the top four to six inches of soil.

How to Water a New Tree

Watering a newly planted tree depends on things like the amount of rainfall you get in your area, wind conditions, temperatures and what season it is, how  well the soil holds water and drainage. Further, how developed the roots are to the tree (long long ago you actually planted it) will also let you know how much and often to water the tree.

In general, water a tree once a day for the first 2 weeks and after that, once a week for a year or two, as long as the tree is not dormant (without leaves).

When trees are newly planted, their watering requirements are high. Transplanted tree watering requirements might include heavy moisture during the first full growing season so that the root ball can get established. Remember that the root growth is slow in too wet or too dry soil, so you don’t want to over water, but if you underwater you are also doing the tree an injustice.

Therefore, during the first year you have the tree in your yard, you should make sure you water it often enough to keep the soil moist yet not soaked. Pay close attention during the dry season so that you can ensure the tree receives enough water. Transplanted tree watering requirements are high so long as the root ball is still a ball. Once roots start to extend beyond the root ball, you know they are establishing theselves and the tree will no longer require much fo your care as the environment can take care of the tree instead.

For optimum water absorption, water your new tree later in the evening, after the heat of the day has subsided. This way, the water will not evaporate immediately and the roots get a good chance of absorbing some of the moisture.

Watering a newly planted tree is not difficult and until the tree roots are established, try using a trickling hose placed near the trunk of the tree.

For any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 952-233-4004.

Happy planting!