Tree Care
Planting Your New Trees

Before the trees arrive:

  • The best time to plant a tree is in the Spring (up to early June) – the soil is moist and the roots will have a chance to get established over the summer months.
  • If you are planting in the Fall, seek professional advice on staking.
  • Plant your trees as soon as possible after arrival. Larger trees should be planted with a tree spade. Smaller trees in baskets can be planted with a mini-excavator or back hoe.
  • Select the location where you want the tree(s) planted and mark with a stake.
  • If possible, have some bone meal or enriched organic material (compost) to “jump start” early root growth. This can make a significant difference.
  • If the tree is in a wire basket, ensure the basket rests at the bottom of the hole you dig for planting. Leave the top of the basket a couple inches below the surface to enable a small catch area for water, or mulch, and make it easier to cut grass around the tree.
  • Try to have a hose or water source available – trees should be watered immediately after planting with a slow trickle (not full force).

After transplanting:

  • Cut off any exposed roots with pruning shears or lopper – make a straight cut (if the tree is properly balled, this has already been done for you).
  • Make sure the roots are straight down and secured in the ground.
  • Once the tree is in the hole, ensure the soil is packed firmly around the tree to eliminate air pockets. Do this by “heeling in” the soil around the root ball, then soak the tree root (ball) – this also removes air pockets. Soak the tree root (ball) to ensure this is the case.
  • If balled and wrapped, leave the burlap wrapping tied to the tree until the roots have had a chance to “anchor” into the soil – usually one full season is sufficient for this to happen. Cut the rope or string tied around the base of the tree at that time.
  • If plastic twine was used to tie the basket, it must be cut or it will eventually “strangle” the tree. Sisal twine will degrade over time; plastic will not.
  • Regular watering of a newly transplanted tree is critically important. Water every 3-4 days and allow the water flow to be a “trickle” rather than a torrent. You want moist soil, not muddy soil.

Ongoing maintenance:

  • All transplanted trees will go through a period of shock (limited growth in the first year). If you are concerned, discuss this with the specialist who sold you the trees. Different tree species adapt to this period of transplanting shock quite differently and this can be ameliorated through proper handling and tree care techniques.
  • Weed control after planting is important. Weeds compete with your tree for soil nutrients, moisture and fertilizer which can effect the growth, if not survival, of the tree. Good weed control ensures more sunlight and fewer insect and disease problems.
  • The more care (appropriate fertilization, weed and pest control, water and proper pruning), the healthier your trees will be and the faster they will grow.
  • Natural occurrences such as late frost, drought and disease can still impair the tree’s growth rate as well as the planting site you have chosen.