How to plant new tree

Planting a Tree

Trees are an investment. How well that investment grows depends on several factors including, the type of tree planted, its location and the care provided. Getting your new tree off to a healthy start will help the tree mature to its full size and ensures it will provide environmental, economic, and social benefits throughout its lifetime.

Learn more about planting a new tree.

When to Plant


Dormant seasons, the fall after leaf drop and early spring before bud break, are ideal times to plant new trees. Be sure the weather conditions are cool and allow time for new plants to establish roots in the new location before spring rains and summer heat stimulate new top growth. Healthy bailed and burlapped or container trees can be planted throughout the growing season. In areas where trees grow year round, tropical and subtropical climates, any time is a good time to plant a new tree as long as sufficient water is available.

Planting Stress


Transplant shock is a state of slowed growth and reduced vitality following transplanting and can affect balled-and-burlapped trees lose a causing them to lose a significant portion of their root system when dug at the nursery. Container trees may also experience transplant shock. Proper site preparation, careful handling to prevent further root damage, and good follow-up care reduces transplant shock and promotes faster recovery.

How to Plant a Tree

Carefully follow these nine steps to help your tree establish quickly in its new location: 

1. The trunk flare is where the trunk expands at the base of the tree. Ensure trunk flare is partially visible after the tree is planted. Remove excess soil prior to planting if flare is not visible. 

2. Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Holes should be 2–3 times wider than the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball.

3. If wrapped, remove any cover from around the root ball and trunk to facilitate root growth. Remove wire basket or cut one or two rings off so it is low-profile and will not interfere with future root growth. Inspect tree root ball for circling roots and straighten, cut, or remove them. Expose the trunk flare if necessary.

4. Place the tree at the proper height. When placing the tree in the hole, lift by the root ball, not the trunk. The majority of tree’s roots develop in the top 12 inches (30 cm) of soil. Planting too deep can be harmful to the tree.  

5. Straighten the tree in the hole. Before filling the hole, have someone examine the tree from several angles to confirm it is straight.

6. Fill the hole gently but firmly. Pack soil around the base of the root ball to stabilize it. 
Fill the hole firmly to eliminate air pockets. Further reduce air pockets by watering periodically while backfilling. Avoid fertilizing at the time of planting. 

7. If staking is necessary, three stakes or underground systems provide optimum support. Studies have shown that trees develop stronger trunks and roots if they are not staked; however, it may be required when planting bare root stock or on windy sites. Remove stakes after first year of growth.

8. Mulch the base of the tree. Place a 2–3 inch (5–7. 5 cm) layer of mulch, but be sure not to pile much right against the trunk. A mulch-free area of 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) wide at the base of the tree will reduce moist bark and prevent decay.

9. Provide follow-up care. Keep the soil moist by watering at least once a week, barring rain, and more frequently during hot, windy weather. Continue until mid-fall, tapering off as lower temperatures require less-frequent watering.

Other follow-up care to consider:
• Minor pruning of branches damaged during the planting process may be required. 
• Prune sparingly after planting. Delay corrective pruning until a full season of growth.
• If trunk wrapping is necessary, use biodegradable materials and wrap from the bottom. 

Consult your local ISA Certified Arborist® or a tree care or garden center professional for assistance regarding your tree. 

Note: Before you begin planting your tree, be sure you have located all underground utilities prior to digging. 811 is the US national call-before-you-dig phone number. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to their state 811 center’s website.

Right Tree – Right Place


Proper tree placement can enhance your property and prevent costly maintenance and repairs down the road. Consider utility lines, the side walk and driveways when choosing a location.  A local arborist or tree care professional, utility company, local nursery, or county extension office can help with proper tree placement.



Mulching is one of the most beneficial practices a homeowner can use for better tree health. Mulches are applied to the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. However, if misapplied, mulch may have little, or even negative, impact on the trees in your landscape.

The benefits of proper mulching include:

  • Reduces soil moisture loss through evaporation.
  • Controls weed germination and growth.
  • Insulates soil, protecting roots from extreme summer and winter temperatures.

Learn more about proper mulching techniques

Avoiding Tree and Utility Conflicts

Determining where to plant a tree is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Many factors should be considered prior to planting. When planning what type of tree to plant, remember to look up and look down to determine where the tree will be located in relation to overhead and underground utility lines.

Learn more about planting trees near utilities.

Overhead Lines


Overhead utility lines are easy to spot, yet often overlooked. Planting tall-growing trees under or near these lines eventually requires your utility provider to prune them to maintain safe clearance from the wires. This pruning may result in the tree having an unnatural appearance. Periodic pruning can also lead to a shortened life span for the tree.

Tall-growing trees near overhead lines can cause service interruptions when trees contact wires. Children or adults climbing in these trees can be severely injured or even killed if they come in contact with the wires. Proper selection and placement of trees in and around overhead utilities can eliminate potential public safety hazards, reduce expenses for utilities and their customers, and improve landscape appearance.

Underground Lines

Trees consist of much more than what you see above ground. Many times, the root area below ground is larger than the branch spread. Electric, gas, water, and sewer lines installed underground can be compromised by tree roots. Roots commonly spread many times the breadth of the tree crown and can extend out farther than the height of a tree. 

Locating Underground Utilities
The greatest danger to underground utilities occurs during planting. Accidental digging into underground utilities can cause costly repairs to restore interrupted service or result in injury or loss of life. Before digging call your utility company or locator service to make sure you have located underground utilities. Never assume that utilities are buried deeper than you plan to dig. Locating underground utilities before digging is often required by law. 

How to Plant A Tree the Right Way - 7 Steps for Getting it Right Every Time

With a little luck and good timing, sometimes simply sticking a tree in the ground and walking away can be enough for it to survive. But knowing how to plant a tree the right way, will ensure success every time. In my book, there are 7 steps for planting success which I share below.

Suffice it to say, I’ve learned these all-important st eps mostly by trial and error. It’s always the best way to learn, especially when it comes to gardening.

Trees have been described as the lungs of the earth for good reason. Without them, there would be no life on this planet. That’s reason enough to plant as many as we can. But when you learn just how important they are for so many reasons, you begin to understand my passion for trees and why we need more.

That’s led to a lifelong crusade to encourage people to plant more trees. Or even one. So it only stands to reason how thrilled I was to team up with Lands’ End recently to encourage everyone to #PlantATree in celebration of Earth Day this year.

So whether this is your first tree planting, or you’ve planted a forest by now, we’re always learning. Knowing how to plant a tree the right way — especially now, considering such unprecedented climate conditions — will ensure your efforts will not be in vain.

To give you the whole story, check out this video we created to walk you through how to plant a tree the right way, along with the 7-steps for getting it right every time.

The Best Time to Plant a Tree

Trees (and shrubs) can be planted any time of the year that you can dig the proper planting hole. However, there are better times than others for multiple reasons.

Suffice it to say, the more time you can put between when you plant a tree, and the arrival of summer, the better. That makes fall the very best time of year to relocate trees and shrubs or plant new ones. Early spring is a popular time as well.

An easy way to know if your hole is at the right depth is to take your shovel handle and lay it across the grade. The top of the root ball or tree flare should be at or above the handle level.

How to plant a tree the right way – follow these seven important steps:

-1. Prepare the proper planting hole. When preparing any hole for planting, make it three times wider than the current root mass but never deeper than the plant was growing in its previous environment.

An even better guide with trees is to look for the flare of the trunk near the soil level. Don’t place the tree in the planting hole so deep that any part of that flare is covered with soil. The truth is, even nurseries sometimes put plants in containers too deeply. There have been many times where I’ve actually had to pull away soil to find the base of the trunk flare and true surface roots. Make a habit of checking this.

-2. Plant high. I go even one step further by placing trees and shrubs in their new environment with up to 25% of the root ball higher than the surrounding soil level. I then taper soil up to cover all the roots and add a generous layer of mulch above that. Newly disturbed soil tends to settle and shrubs and trees planted at grade can quickly settle below grade and succumb to root rot or disease.

In my book, it’s always better to plant a tree or shrub slightly high and allow the area to drain away rather than for a plant to sit in a bowl and collect excess water.

Don’t be afraid to break up the roots of a pot plant tree or plant to free them of their circular growth pattern. In fact, you must. Failure to do so now (your last chance) can doom your plant to lackluster performance at best.

-3. Inspect the roots and disturb when necessary. Once the plant is out of its container, look at the roots. If they are densely bound in a circular pattern or have started growing in the shape of the container (even slightly), break up the pattern.

It’s vitally important to stop this pattern now. The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to place a rootbound plant into the ground as is. Unless you break up the pattern, you’ve likely sentenced the plant to a slow death. At a minimum, it will likely never establish or reach a fraction of its potential.

Don’t worry about hurting the roots or losing soil as you break the roots apart or even cut some away. Better to give them a fresh start than allow the constrictive pattern to only get worse below ground. While you don’t want to be any rougher than necessary, do what you must to arrest the pattern.

I often scratch my fingers across the sides and bottom of the root mass in mild cases. In more severe situations, I’ll slice up the roots vertically with a pruning saw, hack off the bottom inch or so, and or pull apart the root mass to clearly create new opportunities for non-circular new root development.

Unless you can dig a hole large enough for the eventual mature root zone and amend the entire area, simply backfill with the existing native soil.

-4. Don’t amend the soil. Contrary to traditional planting methods, contemporary research indicates that you should not amend the hole with additional organic material (unless you intend to amend the entire area where roots will eventually grow). Roots growing in amended soil rarely venture into harder native soil. The long-term affect is a smaller root system, reduced growth and a less hardy plant.

Instead, simply break up the clumps in existing soil, remove the rocks and backfill. Studies show plant roots growing in only the native soil actually did a better job at establishing and expanding beyond the original hole.

I find the best and easiest way to eliminate air pockets during planting is to blast the backfilled soil with a stiff stream of water after refilling the hole about half way. Then again after all the soil has been added back.

-5. Eliminate air pockets. While you could lightly tamp or hand-pack the soil around the plant roots to ensure good soil-to-root contact, I prefer to add a stiff spray of water to the hole after backfilling half way. Not only does it provide needed moisture but the water also helps eliminate air pockets that could otherwise result in dead roots or worse (without compacting the soil too much). Finally, water again gently but thoroughly once all the soil is in place.

-6. Add mulch. Starting about two inches from the trunk (leave this area exposed), place roughly two inches of organic matter such as shredded leaves, or ground bark or nuggets around the plant, at least out to the drip line. Further is better. Mulch helps retain much-needed moisture and helps keep roots cooler near the surface—a very important requirement for newly installed plants.

Perhaps the most important step during the planting process is to keep up with the watering until your plant is fully established. That can take longer than you think. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation on automatic times makes this an easy process.

-7. Water Properly Until Established. The most important job you will have after planting is to keep plants and trees well watered until established. This can take weeks to months, to even a year or more in some cases. But don’t worry. You can put this part of the process on auto-pilot. (I’ll tell you how below.)

The key to proper watering and establishment is slow and deep irrigation. It’s not practical to do that by hand. The only way to establish trees properly through irrigation is with soaker hoses or drip irrigation.

The slow and deep irrigation allows the soil around the roots to saturate, so the roots have time to absorb the moisture, while avoiding excess runoff. Short, manual blasts of water from an overhead hose or sprinkler system simply don’t come close to providing the same effectiveness for water delivery.

I water newly planted trees every day for about the first week. For the next two weeks, I ease off to about every other day. Then gradually ease back from there.

However, there’s a fine line between watering enough and watering too much—especially with large trees that arrive with root balls wrapped in burlap. These trees have lost all their feeder roots when dug from the ground. Providing adequate water is critical to their survival and establishment.

That said, I’ve killed more than one tree like this by overwatering. Even if you prepare a large planting hole, when drainage is poor, the root ball may be sitting in water and literally drown. There’s no easy way to know how wet the soil is deeper into the planting hole.

The best advice I can offer is to pay close attention to how the tree responds (and all your plants for that matter). While it’s common for them to lose up to half their leaves to transplant stress (a normal part of the process), more can indicate a potential problem.

If you sense the tree is responding poorly, and you are watering consistently, you’re likely over-watering. If the leaves are turning brown, drying up, and falling off, and the soil appears dry, water more.

To add to the challenge, soil that appears dry at the top may be very wet a few inches down. And the opposite is true as well. All the more reason it is important to apply your detective skills based on observation and knowing how much or little you’ve been watering.

In the first few weeks, soil that is moist but not soggy is your target range. And depending on what you’re using to deliver the water will affect how long you need irrigate per session. So there’s no simple answer.

Put Watering on Auto-pilot

One of the best time-savers you can find to lighten the load and put your irrigation duties on auto-pilot is to use soaker hoses and/or drip irrigation combined with portable battery-operated timers. I cannot stress the importance and time-saving benefits enough!


If you plant to fertilize, I don’t suggest doing so until you know your trees or shrubs have taken to their new environment through successful establishment.

All energy should be concentrated on root development first. Adopt the walk-before-you-run approach. But even then, I still like to play it safe by using a slow-release, non-burning organic fertilizer that won’t over-tax my plants.

While all the above steps are essential, your active engagement in monitoring newly planted trees for signs of distress over time will be the ultimate deciding factor in your tree planting success. Make any necessary adjustments in real-time, and you can likely reverse a potentially downward spiral into a tree that will live a happy and very long life.

Please join me this Earth Day and let’s all #PlantATree.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp'l is the Host and Executive Producer of the award winning PBS television series Growing A Greener World. Off camera, Joe dedicates his time to promoting sustainability through his popular books, blog, podcast series, and nationally syndicated newspaper columns. Follow Joe on Twitter

How to plant a tree correctly? Terms, fertilizers, care. Photo — Botanichka

It would seem that a fairly simple task is to take and plant a tree. But in fact, this is a whole range of activities that you definitely need to know about and follow all of them. Otherwise, you can get a completely different result, which every gardener dreams of. With an incorrect, untimely planting of a tree, you can achieve a much smaller harvest or not wait at all, or, instead of the prescribed couple of years from planting to the first harvest, wait for fruits two or even three times longer. So what is the right way to plant a tree? We will talk about this in this article.

Young tree in the garden. © loftmag


  • Planting dates for fruit trees
  • Nursery - the best place to buy
  • Each seedling has its own place
  • Distance between seedlings
  • Fertilizing the soil before planting
  • Features of creating a landing hole
  • How to place a seedling in a hole?
  • First seedling care

Dates for planting fruit trees

It is known that trees can be planted both in spring and autumn. The best time in spring is before bud break. In most parts of Russia it is April. In autumn, planting should be completed 15-20 days before the onset of stable cold weather. Usually trees are planted in October, when the soil is moist, it is no longer hot and not yet cold.

Knowing the timing of planting, everyone can decide for himself when it is more convenient for him to plant a tree. Naturally, there is less time in spring: there is a lot to do and it is not always possible to have time to plant a tree before bud break; autumn is a quieter time, and the choice of seedlings in nurseries is the largest. If you buy a tree in the fall, deciding to plant it in the spring, you will have to dig it somewhere and protect it from rodents.

Nursery - the best place to buy

The very first rule of planting any tree begins with choosing where to buy it. It is best to buy trees in nurseries. It is desirable that the nursery in which you are going to purchase a seedling has successfully existed in your city for at least a couple of years. It is in the nursery that you can buy a full-fledged seedling of any tree that matches the variety, does not have diseases and is not infected with pests.

However, even there, when buying, be sure to inspect the root system, the aerial part of the plant, and if you do not find rot, bark scuffs, overdried roots, then the seedling can be purchased. By the way, it is best to transport the seedling to your site by first dipping its root system in a clay mash, sprinkling the roots with sawdust and wrapping them in a plastic bag.

Each seedling has its place

In order for a tree to grow successfully on your site, you need to choose exactly its place for it. The vast majority of trees will grow well in a lighted area, without shade, without depressions and depressions (places where melt or rain water accumulates), on soils with a groundwater level located no closer than two meters to their surface.

It's great if there is protection from the north side in the form of a wall of a house, a fence or another structure, not a single tree will refuse this. Choose a site where the crop you are planting has not grown before, or at least five or six years ago. Do not plant in place, say, apple trees again an apple tree and so on. Why?

Everything is simple: in addition to the fact that a certain type of crop sucks out of the soil its characteristic set of elements in the required quantity, it also “enriches” the soil with pests and diseases that hibernate or dormant, which immediately become active as soon as that one is again in this place. same culture.

The type of soil is also important, because the optimal place is not only where it is light, even and moisture does not stagnate. The vast majority of trees will grow well only on nutritious and loose soil, such as black soil, loam and the like. You should not plant trees on sandy or very dense clay soil without preliminary preparation of the substrate: loosening (adding river sand or, for example, buckwheat husks) - this is the case with clay soil or, conversely, compaction (addition of loose clay to the soil, usually a bucket per square meter) - in the case of sandy soil.

The pH level, that is, the balance of acid and alkali, is also of course important. The best option is usually a pH of 6.0 to 7.0, if it is higher, then this soil is alkaline, lower - acidic, few trees like such soils. You can check the pH level with ordinary litmus paper by diluting a piece of soil in water and dipping it there. The color that the paper turns into will indicate the pH level. A set of litmus papers and a scale can be purchased at any garden center.

A young orchard. © alimex-as

Seedling spacing

In this case, we are talking about a planting pattern. Trees, whatever they are, certainly do not like thickening. While the seedling is young with a thin stem and a couple of paces, it seems that a meter of free area is enough, but after five years, when a powerful above-ground mass is formed, the crown of your tree will begin to interfere with neighboring trees or shrubs, begin to reach for the light, may begin to bend or it will become ugly one-sided, and then nothing can be done with the tree - it's too late.

To avoid trouble, do not be greedy, plant large trees so that the distance from other trees is at least three meters, this should be enough for the full development of the crown.

Fertilizing the soil before planting

Before planting, when you have decided on the place and scheme, you need to properly prepare the soil. Outwardly, it seems that all the soil is the same, it is black or gray, closer to brown, and so on. In fact, the composition of the soil, one might say, is unique. In one area, only potassium can be enough to meet the needs of the tree, in another, nitrogen, and in the third, all three main elements will not be enough for the full development of the tree.

So, in order to level the risk of starvation of the tree after planting, the soil must be fertilized before planting. Fertilizers are usually applied for digging the soil, distributing well-rotted manure or humus over the surface (4-5 kg ​​per 1 m 2 ), wood ash (250-300 g per 1 m 2 ) and nitroammophoska (a tablespoon per 1 m 2 ). Usually these fertilizers are enough for the tree to begin to fully develop in a new place.

When preparing the soil, be sure to remove all weeds, especially the rhizomes of wheatgrass, they are the first competitors to the seedling, and at the initial stage of the tree's life, they should not be on a new site. Wheat grass, by the way, can restore its growth even if only one centimeter of its root remains in the soil.

Features of creating a planting hole

When the soil is ready, you can start creating planting holes. This procedure is simple, not complicated, but it has its own rules. For example, you need to dig holes, making the edges even, 25-30% larger than the volume of the tree's root system, and dig them at least a couple of weeks before planting a seedling.

Pre-digging the hole will allow the soil to settle before the seedling is placed in it, so there will be no unpleasant surprise in the form of a failed seedling a couple of days after planting. At the bottom of the hole, be sure to arrange drainage from expanded clay, broken brick or pebbles.

Drainage is loved by most trees, it will not allow water to stagnate at the root system and thereby prevent its decay. On top of the drainage, it is necessary to pour a nutrient layer, as gardeners call it, a nutrient pillow. It should consist of a mixture of humus and nutrient soil (usually the topsoil is the most nutritious) in equal proportions with the addition of 50 g of wood ash and 15-20 g of nitroammofoska. Before placing the root system of the seedling in the hole, it must be well watered.

Placement of the seedling in the planting hole. © orangepippintrees

How to place a seedling in a hole?

We proceed directly to the landing. So, the hole is ready, filled with fertilizers, watered and 12-14 days have passed, the soil has settled and you can plant a tree in a permanent place.

It is advisable to start planting with the installation of a support peg, it must be placed exclusively from the north side. The support peg is necessary to keep the tree upright at first, until the seedling gets stronger. After installing it, you need to pick up our tree and inspect its trunk well. On the trunk you can see the darker side and the lighter side.

The dark side is usually south, the light side is north. If you want the tree to quickly take root in a new place, you need to place it in this way: so that the darker side looks south, and the light side looks north. In this way, we will plant the tree as it grew in the nursery before, and the stress of replanting will be at least a little reduced.

Next, when planting, first lower the seedling into the hole and carefully straighten its roots so that they look to the sides, do not bend, break or point upwards from the hole.

In general, it is more convenient to plant any tree with two people, one person should hold it tightly by the trunk, the other should cover the roots with soil. When filling the roots with soil, try to twitch the seedling a little so that all the voids between the roots are filled with soil, and not with air. When planting, we advise you to compact the soil in layers, that is, they sprinkled lightly - compact a little, then again - poured soil, compact again, and so on, until the hole is filled.

It is extremely important when planting to ensure that the root neck (the place where the roots go into the trunk) is just above the soil surface, at least a centimeter or a little more. It seems that this is a trifle, in fact, if you deepen the root collar, the tree will immediately slow down in growth, and the entry into the fruiting season will be greatly delayed (in stone fruit crops, for example, the root collar may even rot, and the tree will simply die).

You should not let everything take its course, hoping for a “maybe”, even if you later “dig out” the root collar, then all the same, a depression and moisture form around it, falling on the soil surface, no matter with rain or irrigation, it will stagnate in this recess, and the root neck will also rot.

After the root system is completely sprinkled with soil, it is necessary to compact the soil, straighten the tree so that it stands vertically, tie it to a peg with a “figure eight” to prevent constrictions, then pour the soil with a couple of buckets of water and be sure to mulch the soil surface with a layer of humus in a couple of centimeters.

Humus is a very good mulch, when planted in autumn it will save moisture from evaporation and prevent the root system of the seedling from freezing, and when planting a seedling in spring, a layer of mulch in the form of humus will provide additional nutrition, prevent the formation of a soil crust and slow down the growth of weeds.

Installing the stake when planting the seedling

First care of the seedling

If you think planting is over when the seedling is planted in the soil, you are wrong. There are several activities that take place after landing, but they should still be included in the list of indispensable landing activities. In autumn, this is the protection of young trees from rodents. Usually, after planting, the stem is wrapped with a plastic mesh to a height of about 60 cm, and poisoned bait is scattered around the seedling.

When planting in the spring, protect a young tree trunk from sunburn by whitening it.

After all this, we can say with confidence that the landing is over. As you can see, there is nothing difficult in planting a tree on your site, and if everything is done correctly, then the tree will soon bring the first harvest, which will only grow from year to year.

How to Plant a Tree: 5 Common Tree Planting Mistakes – When to Plant, How Deep and More

They seem to be unpretentious and the processes in them flow really more slowly. But that is precisely why it is easy to miss the moment when something went wrong with the tree. And in the end, instead of a mighty green giant, get only a dried snag.

In case you missed it, Troubleshooting: What Went Wrong in the Flowerbed need your help? As in the case of a flower garden, all factors that affect the viability and health of a tree can be divided into several groups.

Architectural Plants Ltd

1. Poor planting material
The quality of the seedlings directly affects whether your tree will take root and grow. Therefore, it is best to purchase seedlings in nurseries that specialize in growing trees. As a rule, such nurseries can offer planting material of different ages and sizes, independently carry out vaccinations, transplantation and preparation for it.

Nurseries are also preferable because the seedlings grown here will be zoned and will survive transplantation, the next and subsequent winters with a greater guarantee. Also, buying in a nursery gives you great confidence that you are purchasing exactly the declared species and variety. When buying "by hand" at garden fairs or from unverified online sellers, there is a high chance of acquiring an "unknown little animal."

on the topic ...

  • Autumn Garden: Criteria for choosing planting material
  • How to order plants in European nurseries


. The condition of the roots of the tree is decisive for survival. Depending on how the seedlings are sold, the root system may be open or closed.

  • The open root system allows you to assess the condition of the plant's roots when buying. The problem is that such plants need to be planted as soon as possible after they have been dug up. From prolonged contact with air, the root system dries up and most often dies. Drying roots turn dark yellow or brown, while healthy roots should be white or slightly yellowish. However, it can be difficult to identify the initial stages of root damage when exposed to air. Therefore, it makes sense to buy seedlings with an open root system only in a nursery and only if you are sure that the plant was dug out a few hours ago.

Patricia Grolier.

Fact: To protect the open root system, it is often dipped into a clay "talker" - clay diluted with water to the state of liquid sour cream with or without manure. And sometimes it is even advised to plant trees with roots covered with this mixture. However, it must be understood that the clay, protecting the roots from the evaporation of moisture, at the same time prevents its absorption. In addition, "cemented" roots are easily damaged mechanically. Therefore, this method should be used only if seedlings with an open root system need to be transported over a long distance or stored for a long time. And before planting a tree, the roots must be immersed in water for at least an hour so that the clay is washed off and they are saturated with moisture. You can add a root stimulant to the water.

Classic Nursery photos

  • The closed root system is more suitable for transporting and storing plants. Therefore, nurseries most often sell seedlings with a clod of earth or in a container. In the first case, the plant is carefully dug up along with the soil in which it grew, and the roots that go beyond the coma are cut off. This is not scary: if the size of the coma is sufficient, after transplantation, small suction roots will quickly grow.


Buying seedlings in a container allows maximum protection of the root system during transportation and transplanting. In this case, the plant is immediately grown in its own container, its root system develops evenly and tightly wraps around the earthen clod. Growing containers are not necessarily hard plastic, often seedlings are grown in special textile bags: they allow you to place even large-sized plants.

Fact: Unscrupulous sellers sometimes disguise dug seedlings by placing them in pots. It is not difficult to determine this - in such cases, sprinkled earth is usually noticeable.

Natalie DeNormandie

Seedlings too "adult" . Transplantation is most easily tolerated by young one-three-year-old plants. The older they are, the more carefully you need to prepare them for transplantation. By the way, the marking of a seedling usually does not include the number of years, but the girth of the trunk at a height of one meter. This allows you to more accurately assess the condition of the plant.

Important: Many trees, such as spruces and oaks, are very difficult to transplant in adulthood. Therefore, they especially need proper preparation for digging.

Family tree: Choosing plants for centuries ” — wisely

Seedlings are unhealthy. When buying a plant, do not forget to inspect its above-ground parts. Pay attention to how the seedling is formed - by grafting or cuttings. Complex ornamental forms of trees are usually grafted. In this case, it is necessary to evaluate the quality of the rootstock - the basis on which the plant is grafted: it is on it that the resistance of the plant to adverse conditions depends. The grafting site should be well fused, the bark - without damage, the branches are elastic and cool to the touch.

Fact: Requirements for the quality of seedlings of fruit crops are defined by GOST 53135-2008 "Planting material for fruit, berry, subtropical, nut-bearing, citrus crops and tea".

on the topic ...
For the vaccine, become: why and how are the trees

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

. The biggest risk of damage to the root system occurs during digging (if the plant is from open ground), transportation and storage of seedlings. Roots should remain hydrated whether they are open or in an earthen clod/container. If after buying a tree it is not possible to plant it immediately, you need to carefully monitor the soil moisture. Especially if you have to postpone planting until spring. If you need to store a seedling for a long time, it is better to place it in an unheated, but frost-free basement or dig it in the garden.

Important: Seedlings with an open root system are not suitable for long-term storage.

Earthen ball from a pot in which a plant with a closed root system was grown, before planting, it is advisable to slightly loosen the outside in order to free and lift the pressed roots.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

The planting hole is not suitable for the plant. It may be too small or have the wrong primer. Experienced gardeners, when it's time to plant trees, dig a hole in advance so that the earth has time to settle, and the organic fertilizers laid down can be overturned and form a nutrient substrate. If you dig a hole just before planting and put manure, lime or inorganic fertilizer there, be sure to fill it with earth from above. Make sure that the roots of the seedling do not touch the top dressing - otherwise they will get burned.

The planting hole should be 1.5 to 2 times the size of the root ball. When digging, the upper, usually the most fertile layer of soil is best set aside separately, and then poured directly under the roots.

Advice: If the soil in which the seedling is grown is significantly different from the soil on the site, pour mixed soil of an intermediate composition around the root ball when planting.

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3. Errors in planting technique

The soil is too dense / with air pockets. Properly planting a tree on the site is a simple task, but it requires attention. When planting a seedling, it is placed in the center of the dug hole, filled up and evenly compacted around the ground. It is important that, on the one hand, the soil is not compacted too tightly, and on the other hand, there are no air gaps left. Seedlings with an open root system will require special attention.

Tip: Make sure that the trunk of the seedling is vertical when planting, otherwise it will have to be corrected later.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Incorrect planting depth. When calculating how deep to plant trees, remember that the root neck of the plant must be above the soil level. Do not confuse: the root neck is not the place of grafting, this is the place where the root passes into the trunk. The tissues of the root neck are fundamentally different from other parts of the tree: if you cut the bark, you can see that even the color of the internal tissues in this place changes. However, the bark in this zone does not have a significant difference in color, and when planting a tree, we, of course, will not open it.

The root collar is the place where the most active metabolic processes of the plant take place, sometimes it is even called the "brain" of the tree. This part must be well supplied with oxygen and ventilated. Without any particular problems, only a few plants will survive its deepening - mainly those that easily give root shoots: for example, mountain ash, plum, lilac, currant. The least dangerous is the deepening of the root neck on loose permeable sandy and sandy loamy soils that do not prevent air penetration and support drainage.

Austin Design Group

In the photo: an example of a solution for the case when it is necessary to significantly raise the level of the site with existing trees. The root collar remains on the surface of the soil, although this surface is lower than the rest of the plot


Important: When positioning the root collar, the biggest mistake is not to take into account soil settlement. As a result, it would seem that a normally planted tree turns out to be buried in a few days. Therefore, initially it is worth placing a seedling with a slight rise - by 4–9see

In the first year, a newly planted tree must be tied to supports, protecting the tying point with burlap or rubber. An example is in the photo above.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Incorrect watering. After planting trees, the soil should be well watered. However, consider the weather conditions: you should not plant plants in the mud.

Wrong seating time in . Suitable times for planting trees are early spring after the soil has thawed, but before the start of the growing season, and late autumn. At the same time, in the northern and northwestern regions, plants planted in autumn may not have time to take root and die in winter. Therefore, when deciding when it is best to plant trees, proceed from the climate of your region. For seedlings planted in late spring or early summer, overdrying is the greatest danger. Remember to water them regularly and protect them from the sun.


4. Condition mismatch

Climate. Despite the general hardiness of trees, even they will not be able to grow in unsuitable conditions. Therefore, first of all, make sure that you buy a zoned species and variety (suitable for growing in your area). Moreover, it is not so much the frost resistance of the plant that is important, but its compliance with the full range of natural conditions of the region: early snowless winters or high humidity, sudden temperature changes or overly active sun.

Tip: If the temptation to plant exotics in your garden is too great, consider whether you can carefully care for a plant that is not quite suitable for the climate. And be prepared for the fact that it can still die.


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    High groundwater level causes the death of many trees unadapted to such conditions. Fruit species are especially affected. What to do?

    • Create a drainage system.
    • Drain the soil with other plants (birch, spruce, alder will help).
    • Plant trees on raised beds (pictured).

    Tip: When creating artificial mounds, keep in mind that you will limit the spread of the root system to the size of the mound.

    Unsuitable soil. Depending on the species, trees need different soil acidity. In the wrong conditions, they can die. So, pear, hawthorn, maple and elm prefer neutral soil with a shift towards alkaline. And chestnut, birch and oak tolerate a more acidic reaction.

    Too little light. Most trees prefer well-lit areas - keep this in mind when choosing a planting site. Light is especially important for fruit species and varieties with colored foliage.

    KL Designs Residential Landscape Planning LLC

    Too crowded. When planted in heaps, trees can compete with each other for food and moisture. Therefore, when planning a garden, do not forget to consider planting distances.

    But plants can be crowded for another reason - if there is simply not enough space for the development of the root system. For example, if a tree grows in the middle of asphalt or on rocky soil, next to a foundation or just in a flowerpot. In this case, having reached a certain size, the plant will begin to be oppressed - its root system will not be able to develop further.

    Tip: Do not forget that the aboveground and underground parts of plants are closely related, and the proportions of the root system approximately correspond to the projection of the crown and even exceed it. Therefore, in places where there is a risk of tightness, including on raised beds and in containers, it is necessary to plant initially compact forms, the roots of which will have enough provided volume.

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    Terms have changed. Work on the site that does not take into account the root system of trees (in mature trees it extends over long distances) can lead to damage to it. Building a house, re-planning a site (and not only yours, but also adjacent ones), can change drainage conditions and redistribute water horizons so much that trees begin to suffer. The worst thing is that in this case it is very difficult to understand what happened. For example, I came across a situation where, due to the “harmless” laying of paths in an existing array, one of its parts became swamped, and a significant part of the trees died.

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    5. Improper care
    Careful care of planted trees is especially important in the first year after planting. It includes regular watering, top dressing, protection from frost and sun. For mature trees, these measures are necessary depending on the species and variety.

    Active sun in early spring can cause significant damage to conifers, so they need to be shaded. For Canadian spruce, this is a necessary procedure that protects against drying out during active evaporation and the earth that has not yet thawed, for junipers and arborvitae, it is desirable.

    Deciduous trees also need sun protection, at least when young. Whitewashing the trunks allows you to level the temperature contrasts of cold air and the sun, which strongly heats the surface.

    Exterior Worlds Landscaping & Design

    Loosening the soil in the trunk circle increases its permeability and retains moisture. However, for trees with a very shallow root system, such as spruce, it is contraindicated. In this case, mulching will help retain moisture. The layer of mulch in the trunk circle does not need to be brought close to the trunk - leave 3–5 cm.

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    Tree weakening. In the first year after planting, a young fruit tree has little strength. So that the plant does not spend them on fruiting, flowers are removed (if they appear). Pruning deciduous trees after planting will make it easier for the root system to grow back. The exceptions are birches, maples and other species with intense sap flow. They will suffer from such pruning at a young age. In the future, it is desirable to carry out sanitary and formative pruning regularly - at least once a year. This reduces the risk of diseases, breakage of branches and provides the tree with a beautiful and healthy shape.

    Fact: Pruning a plant too hard can cause irreparable damage. The exception is easily restored trees and shrubs, for example, willow, hawthorn, vesicle and others.

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    Diseases and parasites. Care of planted trees includes preventive spraying - an important measure that may one day save your garden. It is much easier to prevent a disease than to treat it later with an unguaranteed result. For the winter in the first year of planting, even completely zoned trees should be insulated by wrapping them with burlap or straw, paying special attention to the grafting site and the root neck - they are damaged most easily.

    ETs Ekopochva-LD

    Winter protection. In winter, trees suffer not only from frost. Branches often break under the weight of adhering snow, crust and rodents damage the bark. Thin branches of weeping forms that sink low to the ground also suffer from the crust. If possible, these threats should be addressed proactively.

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    Animals. Trees can suffer not only from alien rodents, but also from pets: for example, if they arrange a toilet in the roots or regularly dig tunnels. Spruces and other plants with shallow root systems are especially affected.

    Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

    How to tell if something is wrong with a tree
    Many problems initially have little or no symptoms. Therefore, carefully monitor the condition of the tree.

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    1 . Feel the bark of the plant, especially after wintering. Cover frost cracks and mechanical damage with garden pitch, having previously removed damaged tissues to healthy wood and disinfected. Large cracks and cavities not only pose a threat of infection, but also increase the risk of a windbreak (from which not only the tree itself, but also surrounding buildings, wires, and even people can suffer). With an annular and close to it lesion of the bark, the nutrition of the tree is disturbed. Usually the culprits of such damage are rodents. You can try to save the plant by grafting it below and above the damage: this will create an alternative path for the tree sap. True, such an event is not for beginners.

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    2. Look at the tips of the branches. Their drying out is the first sign of a violation of the conductivity of the bark or damage to the root system. If the tips dry en masse, look for the cause of the violation of the tree's vital functions - from mechanical damage to diseases and pests.

    Aude Bunetel

    3. Inspect the trunk. Gum disease, to which many stone fruits, such as plums, are prone, is also a sign of problems in the tree. Intensively secreting altered cells and plastic substances, it tries to protect itself from something. In addition to mechanical damage, fungal diseases, oversaturation with moisture, and a violation of plant biochemistry can be the cause. Gum treatment causes further destruction of the tissues of the tree, so the problems found must be eliminated and the damage healed.

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