When it comes to landscaping, planting a tree correctly is essential for its long-term health and growth. Knowing how deep to plant a tree is key to ensuring that it will thrive in its new home. In this article, we'll discuss the best practices for planting trees in well-drained soil, as well as tips for planting bare-root plants and trees purchased in a ball-and-burlap (B&B) package. In well-drained soil, the planting hole should never be dug deeper than the height of the root ball.
This means that the soil at the bottom of the hole remains intact. Placing the root ball on loose soil will cause the tree to settle and sink too deep into the ground. If the soil is too wet and this is the reason why the tree is perched on a pillow of soil, the best option is to look for another place to install the tree. If the tree is planted 6 inches above the surrounding ground, that means that a third to a quarter of its roots have nowhere to go.
Bare-root plants require additional care, but they allow a full inspection of the root system before planting them. Don't worry about altering part of the root structure; the tree will be much happier once it's properly planted in the ground. Smart gardeners realize that the time spent planting the tree correctly has a much better chance of leading to a long-term relationship between the tree and the intelligent gardener. Dig a planting hole two or three times wider than the root ball to obtain loose soil in which the roots can expand horizontally close to the soil surface, where there is more oxygen, an ingredient necessary for root survival.
Prune lightly and inspect your new plant carefully and remove dead, broken, or diseased branches when planting. A general rule is that newly planted trees and shrubs should not be fertilized during the first or second year; the only exception would be those planted in nutritionally poor soils. If it's dry, so are your roots, and you should put them in a bucket of water for several hours before planting to rehydrate them. It usually takes one year per inch of trunk diameter when planted for a woody plant to become established, so postpone any structural pruning until then. Specimens of B&B, which are harvested with an earthen ball wrapped in burlap surrounding the roots, are easily available at your local nursery and, although this earthen ball can be heavy and difficult for an average homeowner to handle, this packaging is often your only option for large plants. If your tree was planted above ground level and you want to correct it, remove the mulch from under the tree with a rake.
Often, trees do not adapt well to deep plantations because they begin to suffocate due to lack of oxygen. Smart gardeners know that taking time to properly plant a tree will lead to a long-term relationship between them and their new plant. By following these tips on how deep to plant a tree, you can ensure that your new addition will thrive in its new home.