How to Plant New Trees

Planting Deciduous Trees & Shrubs

Deciduous trees and shrubs, by definition, are plants that lose their leaves and go dormant in winter.  As with any anything planted in this area they greatly benefit from the addition of organic matter into the soil.  A good liquid starter fertilizer - specifically formulated for newly-transplanted trees and shrubs (not new lawn fertilizer) - will feed the plant for the first growing season.  The use of Root Stimulator® used at weekly intervals for the first month will greatly enhance the survivability of  your new shrub.  Don’t forget to water!


 1) DIG a hole that is the same depth, no deeper!, than the depth of the root ball and at least twice as wide.  The hole should be rough-sided, not smooth or compacted.  In heavy clay soil, plant the root ball 4-6” higher than the existing grade, and slope soil off of top of root ball.

2) MIX Cotton Boll compost or peat moss into the soil at a ratio of 2 to 1.  If you feel you have extremely poor soil, also add topsoil and change the ratio to 1/3 peat moss or compost, 1/3 your soil, and 1/3 new topsoil.

We recommend Myke Tree & Shrub Transplanter, which is a beneficial fungus that helps promote stronger, healthier root growth.

3) ADD  FERTI*LOME Start N’ Grow fertilizer to the hole, mixing with soil on the bottom.  This is designed to slowly feed the plant for the first growing season without burning the delicate new root system. 

4) SET plant in hole so that the top of the root ball is level with surrounding soil. Plants in plastic pots MUST be taken out of the pot.  Gently loosen outer roots from root ball before setting in the hole. If drainage is a problem raise 1/3 of the root ball higher than the soil line.  Lift  plant by the root ball, avoid using the stem as a handle. Leave burlap / wire baskets on the root ball. Fold burlap away from the top of the root ball to be covered later with mulch. Cut strings and/or wires after root ball is set and placement is finished. If string is synthetic - remove it.  Natural strings will decompose.

5) FILL hole 1/2 full with soil mix and tamp firmly. Water and then add remaining soil. 

6) WATER in after planting with FERTI-LOME ROOT STIMULATOR., according to label directions. Then use once per week for 3-4 weeks. We use this product on our tree plants!

Spring / Summer planting
: Initially you will probably need to check the moisture levels after the
first watering to see how quickly your soil dries out. Based on these observations you will water when needed. Water in the mornings if possible.  A slow trickle will thoroughly soak and saturate the soil to the bottom of the hole.

Note the time it takes to water and use this as a
reference for future watering. 

Slowly wean the plant to watering every 3-4 days. By the fifth
week you should be watering every 5-7 days.  Continue watering every 5-7 days (1”/week) through the first summer or asneeded to provide adequate moisture. Occasionally you may need additional watering if it is extremely windy and/or hot.

Fall/Winter planting: Do not water as often in fall as the leaves are not actively growing.  Use the above guidelines but add 2 days between each step. i.e.: every 3-4 days initially then stretch to 5-7 days and 7-10 days.  Rain only counts once and then only if we get more than 1/2 inch of rain.

Lawn Irrigation systems cannot be the sole source of water on new plantings.  They simply do not penetrate to the full depth of the root zone.

7) MULCH after watering with an organic mulch to a depth of 2-3” to help control weeds and retain moisture.  Do not pile against trunk.

8) STAKING & MULCHING is recommended on trees over 4 feet tall.  Two to three stakes are recommended.  Stakes should hold the tree firmly but allow some swaying.  Don’t allow wires or ropes to dig into the bark.   Be sure to remove stakes after the first growing season.

Full Features Nursery & Landscape Center - proudly serving the commercial landscaping and residential landscaping, lawn and garden needs in Kansas City, Smithville, Platte City, Kearney and the surrounding Northland areas since 2003.

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