Container Tree and Shrub Planting 101

In the age of Pinterest and DIY it’s fun to do it yourself (and usually cheaper!).  With warmer weather finally here people are ready to get out into the yard and play in the dirt.  However, not everyone has experience in planting ornamentals.  That’s where we come in!  Not only does our nursery carry a wide variety of container trees, shrubs, and perennials, but we will tell you how to plant and care for them too!  For those of you who struggle with getting your landscaping to thrive after planting, this blog post is for you!

Step 1: Do your research and pick out your plants!  When selecting the trees or shrubs to go into your yard you want to play close attention to what zone the plant grows best in and their sun and water requirements.  If you don’t know where to start looking just come talk to us at the nursery! We will help you pick out the plant that will grow best in your area.

Step 2: Placement!  Pick out where you want the tree or shrub planted.  It is important to be aware of utility line location.  It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to this so call Julie before you dig if you are unsure!  Once you are sure of your placement, dig your hole.  The hole needs to be a little larger than the root ball of the plant so that you can easily backfill it.

Step 3: Break up the root ball! Before placing the root ball in the hole, it is important to break up the roots on the bottom of the ball so that they are loose and reaching down into the ground.  If it is very root bound, it may be easier to score the bottom and sides of the root ball with a sharp knife or gardening tool.  This tells the roots that it’s time to stretch out and grow out into the ground as opposed to wrapping around the inside of a pot.

Step 4: Backfill! Place the root ball into the hole and begin to backfill with dirt.  It is important during this step to not plant the tree, shrub, or perennial too deep.  If there is too much dirt packed too high around the trunk or stems it could cause rot and potentially kill the plant.  Generally you will want to plant the tree or shrub just as deep as it was sitting in the pot with just enough space to cover the root ball.

Step 5: Mulch and stake!  It is always good to spread some mulch around the base of the plant to help keep a constant moisture level around your newly planted tree or shrub.  The roots are only as deep as the bottom of the hole that you dug at this point, because they have not had the chance to grow deep in search for water.  It is also a good idea to stake your tree in place until it has a chance to root into the ground, especially if you live in a windy location!

Step 6: Water, fertilize, root stimulator!  It is very important to water your tree very well after it has been planted.  It is stressful for the tree or shrub to be transplanted, and a good drink will help them settle in to their new home.  Generally we recommend that you place a hose at the base of the plant with a pencil thin stream of water running until the ground is saturated.  Remember: larger trees and shrubs need more water than smaller trees or perennials!  DO NOT WATER AGAIN UNTIL THE GROUND HAS HAD TIME TO DRY OUT! It is possible to overwater a plant!  We recommend a good water every 10-14 days, but if it has been very hot, dry, and windy you may need to water sooner.  Restart this count every time it rains!

During this step it is optional to apply root stimulator and slow release fertilizer to help your tree or shrub along.  Generally the root stimulator comes as a liquid you mix with water when you water your plant.  Fertilizer can be found as below ground spikes or granules that can be spread around the base of the tree.  Follow the directions on the labels or talk to your local nursery if you are unsure of how to apply the fertilizer!

Step 7: Now sit back and enjoy your hard work and watch your landscaping thrive!