The Best Soil for Planting Trees: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to planting trees, it's important to choose the right soil. Loamy, peat or loamy soils are best options for planting trees. Learn more about how to check soil moisture and fertilize your plants.

The Best Soil for Planting Trees: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to planting trees, it's important to choose the right soil. There are six main types of soil to consider, but when looking for the best soil for planting trees, loamy, peat, or loamy soils are the best options. Well-composted organic products have a rich, earthy smell, a brittle appearance, and the original organic materials are no longer recognizable. For the best composted material options, choose well-decomposed material from your home's compost pile or buy composted pine bark.

Composted pine bark may still contain some small bark chips, but this can help improve internal drainage in fine-textured clay soils. In addition, composted pine bark can help suppress certain organisms that cause soil-borne diseases. Adequate moisture is critical to the survival of your young tree or shrub. Roots should never dry out completely, nor should they be waterlogged.

To check soil moisture, use your finger and dig 2 to 4 inches just outside the plant's root mass and water if the soil feels dry. Newly planted shrubs and trees should be checked and watered every other day for the first two weeks. After the first two weeks, limit watering to once a week if less than 1% of rain falls during the week. Extensive soaking that moistens the soil to the full depth of the root mass is better than frequent light watering.

Use the table below as a guide to determine how much water newly planted trees and shrubs need depending on the size of the plant. Miracle-Gro's all-purpose gardening soil is an excellent ground soil for its price. If you are a beginner gardener, you will love this soil because it provides the optimal level of basic nutrients for your trees and feeds them for several months. Once you know that your trees and shrubs have adapted to their new environment through successful establishment, you can now begin a fertilization routine to help feed your plants.

Trees with a poor structure should be pruned at planting time to correct the problem, especially if no further pruning is planned for a year or two. For more information on fertilizing trees and shrubs, see the HGIC 1000 fact sheet, Fertilizing trees & shrubs. Place the plant in the planting area or hole at the correct depth and then fill in the lower half of the space around the root ball. Compressed organic garden soil is another great option for gardeners who want soil and fertilizer for their trees.

Fall is an ideal time of year to relocate trees and shrubs or plant new ones. The most important task you'll have after planting is to keep your plants and trees well-watered until they get established. However, in cases where the planting hole is not wide enough, studies show that the roots tend not to extend beyond the narrow planting hole, but instead opt for the luxurious conditions of modified soil, where they tend to remain. Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Soil is one of the best soils for indoor, outdoor and potted trees.

Pay close attention to how your tree (and also all of its plants) responds after planting and make sure there is no more than half an inch of excess soil on top of the root ball as this can inhibit or prevent water from entering the root ball.