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Thinking about planting? Planting How To’s

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Next up.. THE HOW

Wow, what a difference a few days can make with the weather!  With these colder temperatures, many people think that it is not an ideal time to plant.  In actuality, it is a great time to plant as you learned in last weeks Blog post! Before putting a shovel in the ground. It is very important to know the needs of the trees or shrubs that you are getting ready to plant. Plants are similar to people; each plant has a different watering, sunlight, fertilization, pruning, and maintenance requirement.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Excavate a hole that is 2 times larger than the diameter of the tree or shrub root ball that you are planting


  •   Compact the bottom of the planting hole to ensure that the new tree or shrub will not settle over time


  •  Once your hole is excavated, it’s time to install. If you are working with a containerized tree or shrub you will want to carefully remove the plant from the pot. Please make sure to never grab the tree or shrub by the trunk or base of the plant to hold it.  This can damage the fragile root system. 

There are a couple ways of doing this:

A) simply tap on the side of the container and allow the pot to work itself loose of the of the soil.

B) Another idea to remove the tree or shrub from the pot is to cut a slit down the side of the container and peel the pot back.  This typically works well in most cases.


  •  Plant all trees and shrubs roughly 2″ above the final grade elevation.  This will allow the new plant to develop a strong root system, promote proper ventilation and drainage which will assist in a successful transplant


  • Be sure to back-fill your planting hole with native soil, compost, organic fertilizers, and soil conditioners.  This will give your plant a great chance of surviving in its new environment.  One product that we use in every planting project is Renovate Plus.  You can find this  locally at Landscape Supply, Inc.  or online.


  •  As you are back-filling your soil make sure to tamp in around the tree or shrub to allow air pockets to dissipate and all voids to fill in.  The best method to do this is to lightly step on the soil around the shrub as you are putting things back in place.


  • Once back-filling is complete you should water in your new plant material very well.  Depending on the time of year you may need to water more often that not.  When watering in a new shrub we like to move the hose around the base of the plant for about 1 minute.  You want to ensure that the water is soaking into the soil and not running off.  For a newly installed tree we like to move the hose around the base of the tree for about 2 minutes.  This deep watering also helps in settling out the new soil and allowing any remaining air pockets to fill in.  It is also very helpful for the newly installed tree or shrub as it has had quite a journey to its new home.


  •  After watering in the plant very well you will want to apply a 2″ thick layer of mulch.  The mulch will help to insulate the soil and retain the moisture that the new plants will need in order to survive.  For mulch and compost we work with Yardworks, and Pete Rose, Inc. to supply our clients with some of the best products around.


Until next time, Happy Planting!


~Rock Creek Innovations team