Tree Planting & Care

Tree Planting

  • Determine where the root collar is located within the root ball.
  • Dig a hole 2 to 3 times wider than the root ball, but no deeper.
  • Remove all tags, ribbons and trunk guards. Gently guide the tree into the planting hole.
  • Remove twine, clip and fold back wire basket and trim burlap. If planting a containerized tree, remove the entire pot.
  • Carefully remove soil from the top of the root ball to expose the root collar. The root collar should be 1"-2" above finished grade.
  • Back fill planting space with soil. Water thoroughly to eliminate air pockets. Do not tamp!
Diagram showing parts of a tree that was just planted.

Tree Care

Mulching

  • Mulch insulates the soil helping to provide a buffer from heat & cold temps.
  • Mulch retains water helping to keep the roots moist.
  • Mulch keeps weeds out to help prevent root competition.
  • Mulch prevents soil compaction.
  • Mulch reduces lawn mower damage.
  • Add mulch to the base of your tree by removing any grass within a 3- to 10-foot area depending on the size of your tree.
  • Pour natural mulch such as wood chips or bark pieces 2 to 4 inches deep within the circle.
  • Pull the mulch 3"-6" away from the trunk.

Watering

  • For new trees, water immediately after planting.
  • To water a newly planted tree, place a hose at the base of the trunk and let the water trickle. The water should be able to soak in as fast as it comes out. There should be little to no runoff. 
  • The frequency you should water newly planted trees depends on the soil composition.
    • Sandy soil every 5 days.
    • Silt to loamy soil every 7 days.
    • Clay soil every 10 days.
  • The amount of water depends on the diameter of the tree trunk. If the soil is dry, provide roughly 1.5 gallons of water per diameter inch of the tree trunk.
    • For a 2 inch diameter tree, water with 3 gallons of water.
    • For a 3 inch diameter tree, water with 4.5 gallons of water.
  • When in doubt if your tree needs water, stick a finger in the soil. If the soil is moist, but not soggy the tree does not need water.

Staking

  • Most newly planted trees do not need to be staked.
  • If staking is necessary, use wide webbing straps.
  • Secure webbing to stakes with heavy gauge wire.
  • Attach materials so that the tree is allowed to move in the wind.

Pruning

  • Less is better, newly planted trees need all the leaves they can get.
  • Remove only dead, broken, diseased or rubbing branches.

Tree Planting, Pruning & Removal Contractors

Resources