The Q&A Archives: Tree Planting

Question: We just ordered some trees from the National Arbor Day folks. They say that the trees we'll receive, flowering crab, dogwood, etc. will shipped as 6"-12" trees. How deep should we plant them? Do they need any special care?

Answer: Regardless of the size of tree you're going to plant, you'll want to dig a generous hole to accommodate the roots without crowding. Look at the rootmass and dig a hole slightly deeper and twice as wide as the roots will need to be spread out in a natural fashion. Place a small mound of soil at the bottom of the hole so you can drape the roots over, then backfill with the soil you removed from the hole, gently tamping as you go, to eliminate air pockets. When you're finished the trees should be planted at the same level as they were growing in the pots. If they didn't arrive in pots, you can still tell where the soil level used to be by carefully inspecting the trunks of the trees. Don't amend the soil or the roots will stay in the organic-rich soil instead of radiating outwards. After planting build a well around each sapling so you can water easily. Flood the well once each week to thoroughly wet the entire rootmass of each tree. Plan to supply one inch of water per week until the trees are established (usually about a year). Be sure to water regularly during the hot summer months after your trees become established. to promote healthy growth.

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