Best planting practices for trees and shrubs

Fri. Apr. 3, 2020

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Best planting practices for trees and shrubs

We used to tell you to plant trees and shrubs at the same level they came in in their container. The great part about horticulture is that we are continually learning!!  NOW, the best advice is to take a look at those plants.  Turns out that some of those plants come with too much soil on top of their graft of trunk flare.

So, what does that mean?  It means you need to remove that soil and plant the tree or shrub level with where the root flare starts.  The most important roots, those that take up the water, oxygen and nutrients, are in the top 6 inches of soil.

Instead of just twice as wide, the hole you dig will give your tree an even better shot at a long life by digging a hole about 3 to even 4 times as wide at the top of the hole tapering down to twice as wide further down.  Another tip – using a mallet take a pole and tap holes into the sides of your hole about 4 inches down and about 6 inches apart, especially if you have compacted soil.  The roots will find the easier way to stretch out into the soil. 

Now I’ve also recently heard, that you should dig a SQUARE hole to prevent circling roots…. well, why not. It’s worth a shot! It still has to be much bigger than the pot the plant came in!

Crabapple Royal Raindrops 2015
Crabapple ‘Royal Raindrops’ 2019 at 5 years old

Knecht’s Nurseries planted this for me! We did a video segment on proper planting. Leif Knecht is a tree expert.