How to plant a potted tree
Step-by-step planting guidelines:
- Dig a hole at least two times wider than the pot and the same depth as the root ball.
- Roughen the edges and bottom of the hole with your shovel. This will help roots spread into the surrounding soil.
- Carefully remove the tree from the pot. If the roots are tightly packed, gently loosen them up a little, making sure to keep most of the soil intact. If roots are circling around the pot, pull them outward. If roots are kinked, cut them off just before the bend. Kinked or circling roots may not straighten themselves out and can significantly impact the well-being of your tree.
- Place the tree in the hole. It is vital that you position the base of the trunk 4-6cm above the grade of the soil. Failing to do so can cause rot. The trunk flare should be visible after the tree has been planted.
- Backfill the hole with soil and pack it down gently to remove air pockets.
- Water the soil. A big bucket of water over the planting area helps remove leftover air pockets by settling the soil. You may need to add a small amount of soil after watering to fill any depressions.
- Add mulch around the tree and planting area. A 2-3” thick layer is ideal. It is important to pull the mulch out from around the trunk: think donut, not volcano!
- Water the newly planted tree again slowly and deeply, ensuring the water penetrates deep into the soil. Continue monitoring the soil for dampness and watering as needed. The soil should fee damp instead of soggy!
The best time to plant a tree is when it is dormant (not growing). This typically means spring or fall. Trees, can, however, be planted during the growing season as well but they may require some extra attention to ensure their watering needs are met. In any case, it is important to plant the tree as quickly as possible after purchasing it. If you are not able to plant the tree immediately, take care to keep it hydrated in a cool, shady place. To reduce the shock of transplanting, we advise planting in the morning if possible.
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