Murdoch's Guide to Tree Planting
Take a step-by-step approach to guide you through the tree planting process.
Climate is very important to a sapling's survival. Be sure that your tree selection can flourish in the designated plant-ing area. Select the right tree for the climate in your area by identifying the recommended plant hardiness zone. If you're unsure of what zone you are in, research online or contact your local extension agent. You can also ask your local Murdoch's associate for help.
2. Planting a Tree
Dig wide, not deep. Roots need to be able to spread near the surface to receive oxygen. The planting hole should be 2 to 3 times wider than the container of the tree, but slightly shallower in depth.
Adding compost to the native soil gives the plant extra nutri-ents and will improve drainage. However, add only 10-20% compost to the total soil volume. Too much compost will discourage the plant’s roots from venturing further out into native soil.
4. Rough up the Roots
Use a pruning tool to rough up and loosen the roots before planting. Allow the roots to spread out, as they will tangle around themselves if kept balled up. Always consider plant-ing away from walkways and houses. If planted too close to a home, roots can push into the foundation.
Backfill the plant with the combined native soil and compost mix. Make sure that the plant is straight up when backfill-ing. Otherwise, you could end up with a leaning tree.
Apply a 2-to 3-inch layer of mulch after backfilling. This discourages grass and weeds from growing over the root base and stealing vital nutrients and water from the plant. Tree rings also work well.
After planting thoroughly water the plant. Become familiar with the native soil's water absorption and the needs of your chosen tree. The most common death of newly planted trees is too much or too little water.
A new planting is delicate; therefore, do not use a fertil-izer that is too powerful. It can burn the tree's roots. Ask a Murdoch's associate if you are unsure. A root stimulator is also a great idea to help avoid transplant shock. Try not to feed the plant in fall because this is the time your tree is try-ing to go dormant.