Answer: With any tree, the smaller and younger, the more likely the chances of success. Large, mature established trees will be more stressed. Prepare the new planting hole first, so that the roots aren't exposed. When digging, try to get as much of an intact root ball as possible. I've included info below on proper techniques for planting trees.
Trees develop shallow, spreading root systems in the top two feet of soil and have few deep or ?tap? roots. Till or loosen an area of soil that is five times as wide and only as deep as the tree?s root ball (or container size). Starting with a wide section of aerated soil provides roots with oxygen and allows them to spread easily.
In the center of this area, dig a planting hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and no deeper. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground?or just slightly above to allow for sinkage.
Do not amend the backfill with organic matter. In over 30 studies on trees, no advantage was found to incorporating amendments into the backfill. Ensure that the tree is securely upright but do not heavily tamp or pack the backfill, which compacts soil and impedes water and oxygen flow.
Form a circular berm, or rim, to make a water well on the outside of the root ball. The goal is to keep water away from the trunk to discourage disease.
Add a three- to five-inch-deep layer of mulch around the tree?s entire planting zone. Mulch conserves water by keeping soil temperatures cooler and reducing evaporation. Keep mulch about six inches away from the trunk to help prevent disease. Fertilizer isn?t needed for a tree?s first year.
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