Planting Trees, Shrubs And Other Plants

Here are some great tips and tricks for successful trees, plants and shrubs installation and planting. Vegetation is an expensive yet essential part of any landscape design and proper installation and care can make or break your living landscape.

planting trees and shrubs

Installation and Planting

General planting tips

  • Plant trees at existing elevation, except in clay soil where plants should be planted a little higher.
  • Sandy soil – plant top of rootball level with ground.
  • Clay soil – plant top of rootball 2″ – 4″ above ground level.
  • Cover rootball with no more the 1″ of soil.

Balled and burlapped plants

  • Dig a large hole, 8″ to 12″ larger in diameter and as deep as the rootball. – Gently set tree in the hole.
  • Backfill soil into the hole 1/3 of the way up the ball while supporting it.
  • After the tree is in position and straight and will not be moved or shift any further cut off the top 1/3 of the wire leaving the bottom 2/3 on the rootball. The integrity of the rootball is the most important thing. If you feel the rootball in not secure enough, leave the entire wire basket on.
  • Begin filling the hole, alternating soil and water. Mix soil and water with a shovel to remove any air pockets.
  • When the hole is half filled, add the Agriform Planter Tablets, a slow release fertilizer that nourishes your tree for 18 to 24 months.
  • Before you fill the hole completely, check for and remove any twine around the trunk.
  • Any extra soil should be used to make a well around the rootball to help hold water.
  • Fill the well area with 2″ of mulch.
  • We suggest any trees taller than 6 ft. should be staked and the proper tree straps must be used.

If you have CLAY soil: Dig the hole at least 12″ wider then the rootball and 2″ to 4″ shallower then the rootball. This practice of planting the rootball a little higher then the existing grade does not allow puddling of water, which can cause a tree to drown due to slow drainage of water in heavy clay soil. Backfill with very little, no more then 1/3 organic matter such as pine bark soil conditioner or 1/3 Clay Buster. Native peat is not recommended for use with heavy clay soil nor is amending the backfill too much. Doing so may cause the soil ball to become too wet and the backfill too dry. Possible use of a French drain could be needed.

If you have SANDY, WELL DRAINED soil: Dig a hole 8 to 12″ wider than the rootball and depth the same as the rootball. Mix 1/3 to 2/3 Canadian Peat Moss and existing soil. If you have very sandy soil, such as that located in Brairgate, amend your soil to 1/3 organic material (i.e.: organic humus, compo manure aged), + 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 existing soil.

Paper pots

In Spring or on newly potted plants, cut the rim off the container, then cut 1/6 holes in the side of the container. In late Summer and Fall or pot established plants, slit the paper container, set the plant in the hole and peel off sides of the container, leaving the bottom on. Plant the same as balled & bur lapped trees. Small #5 containers of plant material requires a hole 6-8″ wider that the rootball.

Plastic containers

Slip plants out of container and follow the above instructions.


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Four Seasons Landscaping Inc, Landscape Contractors, Colorado Springs, CO