The Q&A Archives: Planting a Maple Tree

Question: I am planting the first tree in my entire life. It is an Autum Blaze Maple, but when I removed it from the container, there was a burlap sack attached with a rope. Do I need to remove the burlap before planting in the ground?

Answer: I would remove the burlap plus any string or rope. Although the burlap will eventually decompose, I think the root system will get off to a better start if they can grow free at the very beginning.

When you plant your maple, dig a hole as deep and slightly wider than the nursery container. Rough up the sides and bottom of the hole, then place a small mound of dirt in the bottom of the hole. Remove the burlap and gently spread the roots out in a natural fashion. Set the roots on the mound of soil so they fall naturally then backfill in and around the roots with the soil you removed from the hole. Tamp it down gently and then flood the area with water to help settle the soil and remove any air pockets that may be around the roots. Add more soil if necessary to fill in any sunken areas. Now that your new tree has been planted, remember to water it deeply once each week so the roots can become established.

It's normal for newly planted trees to look wilty and even to drop some leaves. This is simply a symptom of transplant stress and the tree will recover in a few weeks. Keep it watered on a weekly basis and it should be fine.

Best wishes with your new maple tree!

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