How to Plant a Tree!

Use P.R. Russell Soils to get the best results!


Always begin with the best quality nursery stock. Spend a few dollars more to insure the future growth of your tree. A few dollars more investment will make a big difference in how sturdy your tree will be in a few years. Go to a reliable nursery or garden center.

In your new tree you need to look for a strong straight trunk and well spaced branches. There should be no breakage or bruising of the bark. Your tree should have lush foliage with no sign of wilting, disease, or insect activity.

Trees from nurseries come bare root in the spring. These trees are harvested in the fall, they over winter them then ship them out. Trees also come in 3 to7 gallon and even larger pots, fiber containers or boxes. Make sure your selected tree is not pot-bound , with it’s roots circling the inside of the pot. Look for white root tips just showing inside the pot this will ensure continued rapid growth.

Most often you will find trees that have been balled wrapped in burlap. These trees are referred to as “B&B” trees. These trees are dug when they are still dormant and the roots are wrapped in burlap and tied with twine. Though this is a common custom, this can cause stress on the tree due to root loss as a good portion of the trees root may be lost. You must use extra care in storage and transportation with a balled and burlaped tree.

Plant bare root trees as early as you can work the ground in the spring while they are still dormant. Container trees can be planted any time. They are best planted in the fall as this gives a head start on spring growth before summer heat arrives. Early spring and early fall are the best times to plant trees. This allows time for the roots to be established before very hot or very cold weather arrives.

For all trees dig a hole two feet wider than the root ball. Make the hole only as deep as the root ball. Pile soil on a tarp if you are planting in an established lawn. Plant new trees in fertile soil that has very good drainage. Break all clods in the escavated soil. For sandy or gravely soil mix one third fertile loam with the backfill soil.

planting a tree
Image Credits: hgtv

At this time you should add organic matter to the backfill soil such as peat moss, manure, or compost. Before planting remove all plastic from the root ball and cut cords, burlap should be folded down, but can be left in the planting hole. Take a container out of it’s pot immediately before planting to avoid open air damage to it’s roots. If your container trees is at all pot bound you should take a sharp knife and score the sides of the root ball at 2 to 3 inch intervals around the root about 1/8 inch deep. This will cause the roots to grow outward. Set the tree in the planting hole Backfill with soil, tamping carefully to eliminate air pockets to about halfway up the root ball. Water well let the water soak in then finish backfilling.

To encourage deep root growth it is a good idea to bury a piece of pvc pipe with the tree to the depth of the root ball. Water can be slow dripped in this pipe it will cause the tree to send down deep roots and not send up damaging surface roots. Watch the trees water supply carefully for the first year. In dry weather water at least once a week and sometimes more often.

Article By Robert Gettle