Tree service companies love trees, even though we remove many in our line of work. When thinking about tree removal, it's also beneficial to think about planting a new one at the same time. You might want to consider planting it yourself with a few of these general tree planting tips.
Dig a Wide Planting Hole
The hole you dig for your tree should be at least twice as wide as its container or root ball, but three to four times as wide is even better. Make sure the sides of the hole slant down, like a large bowl, and prevent settling by digging only as deep as the existing root ball, making sure that the root flare is at or above ground level. When you refill the hole, its size and shape will give the tree just the right amount of loosely packed soil for its roots to be able to spread and take hold.
Remove Foreign Objects
To encourage optimal growth for your tree, you will want to remove anything added to the tree that might hinder its growth. Depending on the way your tree was prepared, this could include plastic containers, wire baskets, treated burlap, labeling tags, and more.
Shape the Roots
Especially when planting a container tree, you might notice after removing the container that the tree’s roots are beginning to grow in a circular shape around the tree. If allowed to continue this way, the roots could continue to circle and choke the tree as they grow. Simply loosen the dirt and pull the roots out straight before you place the tree in the hole. If the roots are really tangled, you can use a sharp knife to cut an X shape on the bottom of the root ball, with the ends of the lines in the X extending up the sides of the root ball as well.
Fill the Hole with Original Soil
It’s natural to assume that adding fertilizer or potting soil would be good for your tree, but for a young tree, these might do more harm than good. Save the fertilizer for next year and backfill your tree’s hole with the soil that was there originally. If you’re planting a tree with bare roots, make sure you fill every space with soil so there are no air pockets left to keep the roots from growing. As you fill the hole, watch and adjust as needed to ensure that the tree’s trunk is straight.
Water and Mulch
Once the hole is filled in, water your tree and apply an even layer of mulch. For help, check out our article on proper mulching techniques.