Dig a Hole and Put the Tree in the Ground, Right? … Wrong!

Planting a tree involves more than just digging a hole and putting the tree in the ground. If you want a beautiful, healthy tree, there are a few guidelines you should follow when planting to ensure long-term success. Check out these helpful tips and tricks!

  1. Dig a hole about as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Ensure that the plant is slightly above the existing grade (1-3”). You want a nice, undisturbed bottom to prevent settling.
  2. Prepare your planting mix for around the tree by combining the excavated soil with 1/3 leaf compost and any other soil amendments needed (noted below).
  3. Prepare your new trees for installation by removing any dead or disfigured branches. Inspect the root-ball for any circling roots. Gently open up and spread out the encircling roots.
  4. If the tree is B&B (balled and burlapped) lower into the hole and loosen the balling twine at the base of the tree to prevent the girding of the trunk. Peel back or remove as much of the burlap as possible. If the tree is potted, remove the pot and scar roots prior to lowering into the hole. Don’t forget to rotate the tree so the most attractive position is outward!
  5. Mix root stimulator and water and apply to the root ball. Backfill the hole with your planting mix, and gently firm in. Water to remove all air pockets. If it is a particularly large tree, it is also beneficial to fill the dirt halfway around the tree and then water. This will ensure that water gets all the way down to the roots and soaks them well! You can finish by filling in the rest of the hole.
  6. Proper watering is necessary for establishment and long-term plant health. Over or under-watering can be fatal for any plant. If rainfall has been adequate (1″ of rain per week), you may not need supplemental water. Otherwise, a deep watering of 1″ every 5-7 days (especially during the summer) is usually adequate for the first two years. Use a soaker hose to conserve water and get water to the root zone area where its needed. Also, keep in mind that organic mulch will decompose over time; reapply mulch as needed to maintain a 2″-3″ layer to help water conservation.
  7. Remember that newly planted trees (and shrubs, too, for that matter) may not always put forth significant new top growth during the first year or two because most of its energy goes toward root growth.

  • Soil Amendments
  • We recommend an additional soil amendment of com-peat or peat moss and soil sulfur or copperas for the following trees.
  • American Hornbeam
  • Beach
  • Birch
  • Fringetree
  • Hophornbeam
  • Red Maple
  • Magnolia
  • English Oak
  • Redbud
  • White Pine
  • Katsura Tree

Here at Vande Hey Company, we do not want to just give you a tree and send you on your way. We want to educate you on how to best plant and care for your tree so it has many years of looking beautiful and healthy. Following these simple steps will not only help your tree get acclimated to its new home but will lead to a long and happy life of growing. Your tree will look gorgeous for many years to come!