The Q&A Archives: Planting Instructions

Question: I bought a couple of trees and was wondering if I need to break up the root ball before planting. Or do I insert following instructions. The tree seemed to come out of the container easily in one mound and didn't break up when I planted them.

Answer: The answer to your question depends upon how the root mass appears. If the largest roots are circling around and around (in the shape of the container), you'll want to untangle the roots so they grow out into the soil rather than continue to grow around and around once the tree is planted. If the root mass is relatively loose and uncompacted, just gently massage it prior to planting. Some plants resent having their roots disturbed, so sliding it out of the container and placing it in a planting hole will help these plants suffer less transplant shock. But, if the roots are compacted, the plants will benefit from having the roots spread out a bit before being planted in the ground. Be sure to dig a large hole, then place a mound or cone of soil on the bottom of the planting hole. Drape the roots over the mound of soil, then backfill the hole with soil, gently tamping it down as you go. For ease in watering, I usually build a basin on the soil surface. Water your trees once a week (more often if weather is hot) by flooding the basin with water and allowing it to slowly trickle down. Good luck with your new trees!

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