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Wedel's Nursery, Florist and Garden Center

Step-by-Step Planting Instructions for Trees

  1. howto_plantatreeBe sure to plant your new tree or shrub in well-drained soil.
  2. Dig a hole that is twice the width of the ball or container. Dig the hole 2-3 inches deeper than the depth of the root ball or pot. 10% of the ball should be above ground when planting is completed.
  3. Create a planting mixture of 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, 1/3 Wedel’s composted cow manure and 1/3 of your existing topsoil. If you are uncertain, a Wedel’s salesperson can help you decide the amount needed for the size of the plant. Fill the bottom of the hole 2-3″ with the soil mixture and compact.
  4. (*It is important that you compact the soil. If the soil is not compacted, your tree or shrub may settle and shift after planting.)
  5. If you are working with clay soil, exposing the top 10% of the root ball is very important so that drowning of roots does not occur. Provide drain “pockets” using stone to the left and right on the bottom of the hole before planting. Remember, sphagnum peat moss will hold moisture in sand and also provides great aeration in clay soil.
  6. Some trees and shrubs are not soil specific (they will grow in a wide range of pH and textures). Other trees and shrubs are soil specific (they need certain soil pH and textures to thrive). Please ask your Wedel’s salesperson for advice. In addition to the composted cow manure and sphagnum peat moss, add the proper amount of Osmocote 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer as the hole is filled (3 Tablespoons per 3 gallon pot, 1 cup per tree). When the hole is three-quarters filled, soak the root ball with Root Stimulator solution.
  7. Place the plant in the hole so that the top of the ball is 1 to 2 inches above the existing soil level. “Planting high” will help ensure that the crown of the plant will not be covered when mulch is added.
  8. Gradually backfill and lightly firm (not pack) the soil mixture around the root ball. When the hole is three-quarters back filled, fill planting hole with water. Do this 3 times, allowing water to penetrate soil and root ball.
  9. Water well immediately after planting. Do not count on rainfall or your irrigation system to water your trees and shrubs. It is critical to not let the plants dry out during their first growing season. Know your soil conditions when planting. If you have a sandy loam that will dry out fast, watering every other day is crucial for plants to set new roots. If you have clay, watering is important, but you can drown a plant. Shrubs, once rooted will need water every 3 days; with trees and evergreens, once a week should be sufficient.
  10. Mulch the area with 2 inches of cedar wood mulch to keep in moisture and keep down weeds. Be sure that the soil/mulch level is not mounded against the trunk of your tree or shrub.
  11. It is very important to water your new and established plantings thoroughly November 10-15 and again prior to the ground freezing to help your plants over-winter well.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Planting Trees

  •  After planting, water your plant when it needs it. Don’t water if the soil is moist, but water before the soil becomes dried out. The best way to check the moisture level is to poke your finger deep in the soil and judge by the feel.
  • Mulching helps soil retain its moisture longer. Again it is important that the mulch level is not around the trunk of the tree or shrub.
  • Use tree wrap on shade trees in late fall and remove it in the spring for the first two winters.
  • Don’t allow grass to grow under the branch system of your new trees.
  • When planting near a foundation, keep in mind that the foundation will raise the soil pH level. Acid loving plants need a low pH to thrive. Bring one or two cups of soil into Wedel’s for a free pH test before trying to adjust the pH.
  • To maintain good growth and plant health, fertilize evergreen and shade trees with Tree Tone, acid-loving plants with Holly Tone, and blooming shrubs with Plant Tone every October.


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