- Pull or cut off the burlap before covering the roots with soil when planting balled and burlapped stock. This simple bit of housekeeping can mean the difference between success and failure for the tree. Some trees are wrapped with synthetic burlap, which will not decay and allow the roots to grow free. Even natural-fiber burlap left around the roots can be slow to decay. It can wick moisture away from the young roots, a sure way to cause damage.
Carefully measure the hole before planting a new tree.
- Carefully consider planting depth before digging the planting hole for a new tree. You should make the hole twice as wide but no deeper than the root ball. Setting the ball on solid ground that has not been fluffed by tilling or shoveling will provide a firm foundation. If the soil underneath settles or shifts, the tree can sit too deep.
- If planting in heavy clay soil, you can plant high so that the top third to half of the root ball is above the soil surface. This allows some roots to get up and out of soggy, poorly aerated soil. Fill in around the exposed roots with good soil, and top with mulch.
- Check the accuracy of your planting hole depth using a shovel handle. When you think the hole may be deep enough, set the root ball inside. Lay the shovel handle across the top of the hole. It should be even with or slightly lower than the top of the root ball.
- Plant beneath your trees with ground covers if you don't want a sea of mulch under them. Ground covers become a carpet of greenery and prevent mowing complications and root competition that can plague trees planted in turf.
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