Planting and feeding instructions for shade, fruit and ornamental trees.2/7/2013


Planting and feeding instructions for shade, fruit and ornamental trees.


Planting a tree in your yard is actually an investment to your home.  It’s hard to imagine that over time the smallish tree you are ready to plant, will someday be spring’s calling card just as it begins to waken from a long winter’s nap.  The tree will also serve to beautify your surroundings and provide a welcome splash of shade in your yard.  If planned, planted and cared for properly, you can enjoy your new tree for years to come as it increases your home’s value.


How to select a tree:


Inspect the tree thoroughly before purchasing carefully paying attention to the form and looking for well-spaced branches.  It is smart to select the largest tree your budget can afford.  A larger tree, will have a larger root mass, and will mature at a faster rate of speed than a young sapling.  Please feel free to ask our help when selecting a tree.


How to plant a tree


Be certain that the tree you are planting is appropriate in size and shape for the desired location, paying particular attention to the size it will reach at maturity.  Look around the surrounding area, what will it look like with a full grown, mature tree?  Are you placing it far enough away from your house, so that when mature it’s branches are not up against the house?  Will it grow up to hide a window, walkway or door?  All are important considerations when determining location.  When planting do everything you can to protect your investment.  Ground preparation is the key.  Dig your hole at least 12 inches wider than the width of the root ball or container and 2 to 3 inches shallower than the root ball or container.  Once planted, the top of the root ball should be slightly above the surface of the ground. 


Enrich the soil


Most soils will benefit with addition of organic amendments.  Add organic matter such as tree and shrub soil or peat moss. Mix 50% existing soil with 50% organic matter.  It is recommended to incorporate Bio-tone starter plus which will help increase the establishment and growth of the root systems and provide resistance against stress.    


Placing Your Plant in the Hole:  Container Plants


Ease the pot off without disturbing the root ball.  Cut any circling roots and place the root ball in the hole.  If the roots are extremely compacted, you may need to make a few shallow cuts through the roots on the sides and the bottom of the root ball. 


Placing Your Plant in the Hole:  Balled and Burlapped Plants


Place the plant into the hole.  Do not remove any rope or string until the tree is at the proper planting height (2 to 3 inches above the surface of the soil) and it is positioned in the desired direction.  Partially back fill the hole with your enriched soil.  Straighten and level the plant, then tamp the soil down carefully.   It is now safe to remove the twine or nylon string that is exposed, wire cages may be left on, as they will not cause any damage to the growing roots. – Fold down the top half of the burlap.  Do not attempt to remove the burlap from under the plant as this could damage the root ball.  Water the soil to settle the soil.  Finish filling in the hole with dirt.  Mix in the appropriate amount of fertilizer to the top layer of the soil and continue to water in.  This will help the newly planted tree to grow new roots.  Use excess soil to build a ring 6 to 10 inches from the outside of the hole.  Water will have the ability to collect in the saucer and move slowly down in the root zone of the plant as well as minimizing runoff.


Watering your tree 


Water your newly planted tree by using a SLOW deep-watering method.  For example, turn your hose on to a trickle and let it sit next to the base of your tree for 15 minutes every few days for the first  month that it is planted.  The root systems of balled and burlapped and/or container plants dry out faster than the soil around them so it is important to monitor their soil moisture.  Water slowly to attain deep-water penetration, this encourages widespread root development.  Plants should receive about 1 inch of water per week during the growing season.  You should monitor the plant’s water needs for the first two growing season.  Take care not to overwater.  It is OK to let the plant slightly dry out between watering.




Staking a tree should only be done when necessary, such as when the roots are not solid in the planting hole or when the tree could be dislodged by high winds.  In  most instances, the weight of the root ball is normally sufficient to hold the tree in place.  Trees with trunks up to two inches in diameter can be supported with a sing 2”x2”x8’ stake driven firmly into the ground at a 45 degree angle close to the trunk and attached to the tree with plastic ties designed for this purpose.  Wrap the trunk of the tree to protect it from rubbing against the stake.  Trees with trunks larger than 2 inches in diameter may require 2 or 3 stakes or guide wires anchored into the soil.  Remove stakes and wires after one growing season.




Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of shredded mulch or bark chips around the plant.  This will prevent water loss and keeps mowers and trimmers from getting too close to the plant.  Avoid overly deep mulch against the trunk or stem of the plant as this can promote disease or pest injury.