Plant a tree the right way

There is a science to planting trees. They younger you plant them, the less likely they are to feel the stress of the tree roots being disturbed. It is also a more cost effective way to add trees to your landscape. The drawback however, is that it will be many years before you will be able to enjoy the benefit of a large shade tree in your yard. Another option would be to plant a container tree. These are usually the trees that you will find at your nearest hardware or superstore. They are larger in size, but not so large that you aren’t able to move them. They are more expensive than bare root trees but typically more affordable than larger trees. These you are also less likely to mow over and are more likely to see them grow to maturity. Finally, balled and burlapped trees are the largest option of the 3 varieties. They are field grown and dug up when they reach a large size. Their roots come in a ball, that is bagged in burlap and held in place by a wire basket. The advantages of purchasing a field grown tree is that you obtain a large sturdy tree that will make its presence known immediately in your landscape. However, these trees are generally too large for one or two people to easily manage. The hole that needs to be dug to accommodate them needs to be quite large as well. These trees will need extra care once planted to help ensure their survival.

Whichever type of tree you decide to plant, do some research on the correct way to plant it so that it has the best chance for success. The links below will take you to for graphics of correct planting techniques. Some points worth mentioning here are these:

Holes should flare, like a saucer, as opposed to being straight sided like a bucket. The reason is that it will encourage the tree roots to grow outwards and not spiral around the root ball.

It is better to plant trees a bit higher than ground level than risk planting them below ground level. Tree roots can work they way down.

Mulch a doughnut around the tree. Don’t put mulch up the trunk. This will cause the trunk to weaken.

Make sure you leave the root flare. Trees are often piled high with dirt and mulch and instead the base of the tree where the roots begin to flare should be visible.

Container trees often will have spiraling roots. As the trees grow in their plastic containers, the roots don’t have anywhere to go but around and around. Be sure once you remove the tree from the container that you break the roots free of this round pattern. Carefully cutting or scratching the smaller roots will help correct this.

Don’t fertilize young trees. Its too much for the little guys!

Do your research and plant the right tree in the right location!

Click the link for more information, graphics and videos from

Planting a container tree

Planting a bare root tree

Planting a balled and burlapped tree

Share This