How to Plant and Care For a Tree

Posted: March 20, 2017 in Tree Board Resources

Handling Containerized Trees

Always pick up a tree by the container rim to prevent damage to the base of the trunk and the root mass.

  • Store in a shaded location and keep the roots moist until planted.
  • Containerized trees can be stored 7-14 days if the roots are kept moist until they can be planted.

Digging the Hole

  • The hole should be 2 to 3 times wider than the container.
  • The hole should be the same depth as the root ball.   Make sure that the root collar is even with the ground level when planted.

Root Mass Inspection

  • Remove the container by placing the tree on its side.
  • Make four to five cuts across the sides and bottom of the root mass using a knife to cut any circling roots.
  • Use your fingers to straighten out and loosen up the roots.
  • Always make sure that the tree is straight before filling.

Back-fill the Hole

  • Mulch, Compost or Fertilizers are not good substitutes for planting soil
  • Make sure all soil chunks are broken up.
  • To firm soil gently step around the tree base.


  • To increase tree growth, try using organic mulch (i.e. composted wood chips).
  • Use the organic mulch around the tree in a circle about 18 to 36 inches wide.
  • Make sure the organic mulch is 3 inches away from the tree base.


  • Eliminate air pockets in the soil by slowly watering the tree.
  • 10 – 15 gallons is the initial amount of water to use.
  • During the first few years water is critical for survival.
  • Water heavy every 7 to 10 days instead of everyday for a deep root system.