The Q&A Archives: planting trees

Question: I am going to plant 3 redbud trees in my yard. I need to buy them this weekend, but it will be another 7-10 days before I can plant them. How should I store them, and water them, until I plant them?

Answer: When you get your trees home, set them in an area protected from reflected heat and blazing sunshine (roots in containers can overheat). Water them well and then check every 3-4 days to see if they need water again. They will be fine for a few weeks. When it's time to plant, dig the hole slightly wider than the root ball (container), and no deeper than the height of the root ball. The soil that you dig out of the hole is what you use to backfill around the root ball. No soil amendments are recommended when planting a tree; therefore, no compost, peat moss, or shredded pine bark should be added to the backfill.

After planting the tree, build a 4-inch tall berm around the edge of the hole. Fill the berm with a mulch (i.e. shredded bark, compost). The mulch and berm make it easier to water the tree and reduce weed competition. Fill the basin with water, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. Water your new trees deeply once each week and they should quickly adjust to their new homes. Enjoy your new trees!

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