A Tree and Shrub Planting Guide
To successfully grow a tree or shrub, proper planting technique is required as a first step. The new plant will come in one of 2 ways, a) containerized, or b) balled in burlap.
Containerized plants are sold in plastic or fiber containers (pots). Most have been grown in the pots and will have extensive root systems. Dig a hole that is approximately one foot greater in diameter than that of the root ball in the pot and loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole. The hole should be deep enough that the root ball is at, or very slightly above, the top of the root ball.
Remove the plant from the container and separate the root system slightly, if it is tight. Place the plant in the hole and cover with a mixture of one half the excavated soil and one half organic filler, such as compost, peat moss, top soil, etc. Gently tamp the soil to remove air pockets and form a gentle raised moat around the plant 3-5 inches high. Water thoroughly; a water soluble fertilizer may be used but do not over do this.
Balled (and burlapped) plants have been dug up with the root system intact and have been wrapped in burlap. Larger trees may be in wire baskets. If the burlap is a synthetic fabric, it must be removed before planting; natural fabric is biodegradable and can be left on the plant.
The hole should be twice the diameter of the root ball; if the soil is poorly drained, then the hole should be three times the diameter of the root ball. Fill with the excavated soil and tamp gently. No more than three to five inches of the ball should be above ground after planting. Pull back the top of the burlap after the plant is in the ground to allow proper irrigation. Form a raised moat 3 to 5 inches in height and water slowly and completely. A water soluble fertilizer may be used.