This weekend, Ryan got me a crabapple tree as a Mother’s Day gift. He was also super nice and planted it for me. although I didn’t get step by step pictures of the process, I though I could share with you a step-by-step how to on planting potted trees and a few tips. You really don’t need a lot of tools, but you do need some muscle and sweat.
Plant a Potted Tree:
- Spot where you would want the tree in your yard and mark the spot.
- Measure the width of the pot. Your hole will be 2-3 times the width. For example, if your pot is 24” wide, you want to make a 48”-72” diameter hole. The easiest way to mark this and make a somewhat perfect circle is to use a tape measure and mark the radius all around the tree trunk.
- With a spade of shovel, remove the sod inside this circle and dig a hole with sloping sides. The hole should be deep enough to place the tree with the start of the root flare even or a couple of inches above ground.
- Remove the tree from the pot. If the roots are overgrown (running all around the sides of the root ball), make four slits with a knife along the sides of the root ball and on the underside to loosen up the root system and promote healthy root growth.
- Also, remember to remove any tags from the branches and trunk. These may damage the tree as it grows.
- Place tree in the hole. Double check that the height is correct and that the trunk of the tree is straight.
- Backfill with the soil and compact all around the root ball as you go.
- Top with 3” of mulch. Keep mulch from touching the trunk.
- Water the tree to saturate the ground. For the first year, you want to keep the soil wet, but not saturated or with standing water. Watering every 7-10 days should be enough.
- As an option, you can use stakes or straps to keep the tree straight. We used one similar to this DeWitt Stake Kit. These help to keep tree in place in high winds until the root system has properly developed. You can adjust as the tree grows and take them off after two years.
- You can also protect the bark with a tree guard for the first growing season or until the tree outgrows it. This might be specially necessary during the winter in areas where deer are prominent and might rub against young trees and damage their bark.
That’s it! It’s a job that can be done by anyone with a little effort and time. Plus, it has big rewards as you see your little tree grow and flourish.
Can’t wait to the flowering season next year!