"A Society Grows Great When Old Men Plant Trees in Whose Shade They Know They Will Never Sit."
Planting Trees combines both art and science. Current research has made planting trees a lot less labor intensive than in the past. When I first started gardening we were instructed to dig holes that were 4 times the width of the container and two times the depth. If the tree was fairly mature, this could mean digging several feet deep.
Universities across the country have adopted the simpler guidelines listed below:
- Dig a hole 2 times the width of the rootball and exactly the depth of the rootball.
- Do not amend the planting hole. Plant in the same soil that you removed while digging the hole.
- Water in the new tree – do not stomp or tamp the soil heavily. Use the water to 'close' the largest air gaps in the new planting.
- Make sure that there is a well for the watering, but do not allow the water to collect around the trunk of the tree.
- Do not fertilizer the newly planted tree; instead layer on some compost leaving a 2" clearing around the trunk. Place irrigation or watering lines on top of the compost.
- Mulch around the tree well, again leaving at least a 2" clearing around the trunk.
One product that can be added to the holes you dig for the new or transplanted tree is Mycorrhizae. These fantastic fungi help to increase the nutrient and water absorption of the roots providing the secondary benefit of reducing transplant shock.