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How to Plant a Container Plant or Ball and Burlap Tree

  • First, you want to select a location site to plant based upon the growing requirements of the plants. Once you have your location site, dig a hole three times the size of root ball and deep enough so that the top of the root ball is two to three inches above the soil level.

  • Now fill the hole with water and let drain; after the hole has drained repeat this test to see how well the soil drains. If your soil takes longer than 24 hours to drain, you will need to increase the drainage of the soil by mixing the backfill soil with coarse builder sand at one part sand to three parts native soil mixture (1:3 ratio).

  • Place the tree in the hole to measure the depth, making sure the root ball is two to three inches above ground level, and remove any plastic containers, twine, or burlap off the top of the root ball, and bend the metal basket below the soil level. You only need to amend the soil if you have poorly draining soil or have low nutrient-availability in your soil. You can mix 20% peat moss to help your tree retain water. Begin to backfill the hole, and once you have your hole half-filled with soil, fill the rest of your hole with water to remove air pockets. Finish backfilling your hole until the soil is level with the top of the root ball, and construct a water basin with the leftover soil around the tree to capture any rain or water.

  • Once planted, water the new plant in thoroughly, and place mulch or pine straw two to three inches thick around the base of the plant. You will need to water your new plant adequately over the next couple of months until established. An easy way to do this is use a five-gallon bucket and drill holes in the bottom, making a cost-effective drip system. The amount of water is two gallons per cubic foot of root ball, three times a week. If you purchased a five-gallon plant it needs to be watered with one gallon of water three times a week.

  • If planting your tree in the fall through winter, wrap the trunk with Kraft paper or lightly colored paper from the ground level to the first branch to prevent sunscald; or you can paint the trunk with white tree paint. If you are planting a large tree or container plant, you will need to stake the plant: drive a stake into the ground on the prevailing wind side and tie loosely around the trunk and bottom branches with rubber hose or fabric strap. Remove your staking after six months to prevent girdling. Fight the urge to fertilize as over-fertilizing will weaken the tree in summer and drought; you can use a very light, slow-release fertilizer like a granular 10-10-10 at a very low rate, but do not fertilize again for the rest of the first season.

  • Planting Guide for B&B