Charlie MV
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1544
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 11:48 pm

Planting trees

Last edited by Charlie MV on Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Hi Charlie, just a little heads up that I'm pretty sure that Lorax is of the female persuasion.

A former employer of mine taught me to plant a tree, you should dig the hole twice and deep and twice as wide as the tree. I then back fill the hole with some compost manure and some compost. Plant the tree and fill with soil and compost. My trees always do great!

What do others do?

Charlie MV
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1544
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 11:48 pm

Last edited by Charlie MV on Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:17 am
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

The current thinking is that you dig a hole only as deep as the root ball. You want the root flare to occur immediately above the soil surface*. Planting too deep is all too common and can ultimately cause the death of the tree. You cannot assume that trees were planted at the correct depth at the nursery, often they were not. In most circumstances you backfill only with the existing soil, no amendments. The width of the hole is kind of up to you so long as there is enough room for proper root spread. It helps to rough up the sides and bottom of the hole with something like a garden fork to reduce the shovel glaze/hard texture transition at the edges of the hole. For B & B plants you always remove as much of the cage and burlap as is feasible.

These days some people are completely bare rooting B&B or container wood plants to correct any root problems at planting. I don't have enough experience with this method to have an informed opinion save to say that it would be imperative to work quickly but carefully and keep the roots continuously moist. I can see both pros and cons to this method but I doubt many commercial landscape contractors will embrace it.

Much of the credit for current planting and pruning thinking goes to the late Dr. Alex Shigo who performed postmortem examinations on hundreds of trees in his long career to reconstruct their history of growth, disease, insect pests, abiotic injury, decay and compartmentalization.

* The soils you are planting in can dictate some variations on standard practice but generally it is better to plant slightly too high rather than too low.

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