Before setting the plant in the hole, use a tape measure to check the hole depth one last time. Again, the top of the ball should be 1-3″ above grade. Carefully lift the plant by the root ball or roll it gently into the hole.
Do I remove the burlap, wire cage, and twine?
- Plastic containers: Yes, remove these completely.
- Burlap & wire cage: No, do not remove these. Burlap biodegrades and wire cages rust away. These help stabilize the plant while it’s establishing.
- Twine – Hemp (tan color) – No, these are biodegradable.
- Twine – Synthetic (white color) – Yes, remove this completely.
** Three to six months after planting you may carefully any burlap and hemp twine from the base of the plant (root flare).
With the plant safely in the hole, it is time to backfill. The majority of your backfill should be the soil that came out of the hole. Amendments like compost, plant starter, or peat moss can be added to the backfill; however, it shouldn’t exceed 20% of the backfill. Mix any amendments in thoroughly before backfilling.
Backfill in layers. After each layer, check the plant from all angles to ensure it remains straight – this is the optimal time to adjust the plant. Gently compress between each layer. Add water to help settle the soil and to give the lower roots a drink. DON’T WRENCH the trunk to correct posture. Use a shovel to lift under the root zone, add backfill, and compress accordingly.
Typically, you don’t fertilize during planting. Instead, allow the plant to establish before trying to stimulate growth.
If you properly install your new plant, then you shouldn’t need staking. Avoid staking if possible. A wide, soft material will minimize abrasion to trunk tissue. Plan on removing any stakes within a year and when the tree is firmly in the ground. Avoid using staking to correct a plant’s posture. It’s healthier for the plant to dig under one side of the root zone, then add dirt, to correct posture issues.