CHOOSING THE PLANTING SITE:
Be sure to plant your new tree or shrub in a site that will
allow it to thrive. Different plants have different needs.
Make sure the plant you have chosen has ample room to grow
(spread & height), proper lighting, correct drainage
and soil type to meet its needs. Check with your nursery
professional for tips on choosing a site, planting and caring
for your plant.
DIGGING THE HOLE:
- Dig the hole approximately 2-3 times as
wide as the soil ball
- Measure the height of the root ball.
Dig the hole 1-2" less
than that height. Do not dig deeper or the plant will be too
deep once the disturbed soil settles. The tree’s
root collar (the bulge right above the root system)
should be just
above the top of the soil. Many new tree cultivars
are grafted and so that graft knob should be right
level or just
slightly above. Remember it is better to plant high
rather than too deeply.
- When digging is complete, roughen up
the sides of the hole. This will help the roots
grow into the soil.
PREPARING THE PLANT:
- Remove the container
from the root ball. Plastic pots usually will slide off
with a gentle tap or
may be split with a sharp
knife & the root ball will slide out. Make 3-4 shallow
vertical cuts down through the roots/soil ball to roughen
up any circling roots. Fiber/paper
pots need 3 or 4 slices
vertically with a sharp knife. Set the plant into the hole
and then peel away as much of the fiber pot as possible.
Be sure to remove the entire top lip of the pot so that it
will not protrude above the final soil line. Fiber pots will
decompose, but tearing away most of the pot will allow fast
growing plant roots an escape route if the pot has not fully
rotted away. Balled and burlapped trees need to have the
twine or rope cut and the top of the burlap loosened, opened
and cut away after the tree is properly placed in the hole
and before backfilling with soil. There should be no nylon
rope or other material left around the plant unless it is
a type that will decompose (wire baskets are okay as they
will rust & degrade over time)
- Backfill the hole using
the original soil dug from the hole. Organic amendments
may benefit poor soils,
backfill with an amendment. These amendments must be
thoroughly mixed with the original soil before backfilling
hole. This creates a transition layer to encourage
the roots to spread from the good soil mix of the container
the amended soil & out into the surrounding soil.
However, in most cases plants will grow best if the
original soil is
altered as little as possible.
FERTILIZING AND WATERING:
- Fertilizer high in phosphorus (the
middle number) helps the development of a strong root
system. High phosphorus
release fertilizer or a liquid starter may assist
root growth, lessen transplant shock and help the plant re-establish
Never put fertilizer directly on plant roots. Always
mix thoroughly into the soil before backfilling when using
dry fertilizer. Always follow the label instructions.
soil evenly around the plant to minimize air pockets.
When the hole is ? full of backfill, water thoroughly
air pockets. Finish filling with soil and water again
- Never water automatically without 1st checking
the soil to see if watering is really needed. Every 7
to 10 days
the soil moisture about 4" deep by pushing a trowel
into the ground and then sticking your finger down
into the crack. If it is dry or only slightly damp, then
soil needs water more often than clay soils. Deep
thorough watering (and only as needed) will encourage a deep & healthy
root system. Always check soil moisture before watering!
(No water or too much water causes the same result: death!)
with a material such as wood chips helps retain soil
moisture and prevent fast soil temperature fluctuations
during the year. Mulch helps to inhibit weed and grass
growth around the plant. This lessens the chances
of damage to the
plant from mowers and trimmers. Just as you should
not plant too deeply, neither should you mulch too deeply.
Use a 2-4" layer
and taper mulch away from the stem/trunk. Do not pile
against the stem/trunk of your plant.
- Most newly planted
trees do not need staking. If the tree is unstable
or planted in a windy area staking is
Use soft material that will not damage or cut into
the tender young bark to secure the tree to the stakes. Pieces
garden hose cushioned against the trunk with wire
rope threaded through the hose and attached to ground stakes
Stakes should be moved each fall and spring to adjust
tension on the trunk. Remove stakes entirely in one
to three years
when the root system has developed and re-established.
our harsh Iowa climate, the trunks of young trees should
be wrapped in late fall to prevent damage from
and animals. Each year apply a paper tree wrap
in fall and remove in the spring until the tree develops
bark. Pay particular attention to maples, crabapples,
fruit trees and others that have very tender bark