How Do You Plant a Young Tree?


Quick Answer

Soak the roots of a bare-root tree for 60 minutes in a bucket of warm water before planting it in a hole twice the size of the root spread. Set the tree crown slightly above soil level, with the roots hanging down from an undisturbed soil cone in the middle of the hole. Fill in around the trunk with soil from the dug hole, firm the area and water the tree with a trickling hose for 30 minutes.

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Full Answer

While bare-root trees are best planted in the spring, balled-and-burlapped trees can be planted from spring through early autumn. Dig a hole that is wide enough to accommodate the root ball and is slightly shallower than the distance from its top to bottom. Set the tree into the hole, ensuring that it sits 2 inches above the soil line. Remove any synthetic material that covers the root ball before setting the tree into the planting hole. Cut and remove any twine and wire that secures the root ball, and cut off as much of the burlap as possible without disturbing the tree's root structure.

Drive a stake into the ground at the edge of the root ball, and back-fill the hole with soil from the planting site to within 4 inches from the soil surface. Firm the soil while back-filling the hole, assuring that the tree remains upright and stable. Make a berm of soil around the planting hole to form a water basin, and loosely secure the tree to the planting stake. Water the plant for 30 minutes by placing a hose at the tree base set for a slow trickle. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch around the planting area, and while the tree establishes itself, continue to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

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