Planting a Tree
How to Plant a Tree
After you have picked your Right Tree/ Right Location it is time to plant. To keep your tree healthy and give it the best chance of survival, make sure to plant according to the guide below. Planting a tree correctly is an important step to ensuring it has a long healthy life. You should take your time and make sure each step is done properly.
- Digging the hole: The hole should be at least twice as wide as the root ball, but no deeper than the length of the root ball. The loose soil around the root ball makes it easier for the roots to spread out, creating a strong base for the future. If the hole was not wide the roots would likely not break far from the hole and would grow in a circle around the root ball. Overtime, this can choke out the tree as the roots get thicker and makes the tree more likely to fall over with strong winds.
- Root Crown/Trunk Flare: Never make the hole deeper than the root ball. It is important to keep the root crown (the bottom part of the trunk that flares out) slightly above the level of the soil. Planting a tree too deep or too shallow will lead to a decline in health and shorten its life. It is better to plant slightly above soil level, because sometimes the trees can settle lower than where they were planted over time.
- If the root crown is planted too deep there can be two main problems. First, it can cause the development of girdling roots. These roots grow at or slightly above the soil. They circle the trunk of the tree and even choke the tree as they get thicker. The second issue is root rot. The root crown is supposed to stay dry but when it is too deep it remains moist and becomes susceptible to pests and disease. If you planted too deep back fill the hole and use your foot to compress the soil.
- If you plant the tree too shallow, the tree will not develop as many horizontal roots, creating a weak base. Or the roots will grow in the mulch, where there is not enough moisture. This will slow down tree growth.
- Prep the Root Ball
- For healthy root growth, massage the root ball to loosen the roots and encourage them to grow outward.
- Also make sure to inspect the root ball for any circling roots. If you find some, cut them so they don’t grow in a circle around the root ball and slowly choke the tree as they thicken.
- Back-filling the hole
- When adding the soil back to the hole, make sure to use your foot or hands to compress the soil to get rid of any air pockets. You can start to do this once the hole is halfway filled. This will make sure there is good soil to root contact to keep the roots healthy. You can also use water to help get rid of air pockets.