Water thoroughly after planting the tree. Plant your tree with care For a thick hedge, plant a … You may need to brush away the soil to locate it. There's more to planting a tree or shrub than digging a hole and plonking it into the ground. I know an inch doesn’t seem like much, but the rootstock was probably only 18 inches tall and less than ½ inches wide when planted. This page covers everything you need to know from choosing the planting location to amending the backfill soil. Test Garden Tip: Plant small trees (that reach 30 feet tall or less) at least 10 feet from your home’s foundation and utility lines. There is virtually no change in diameter where the trunk and soil meet. It was planted about an inch too deep. Deep is good, right? It was started as a bareroot plant. Roots can grow far beyond the dripline, which is the length of the branches. In some areas, like where I live, a representative from the Dept. It all boils down to the roots and how deeply they are planted. The bark of young trees is thin and easily damaged. Credit: Blaine Moats. During dry weather, generously water the tree every 7 to 10 days during the first year. How to plant a tree fern This is called respiration. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Roughen the sides and bottom of the hole to allow root penetration. Step 2: Choose Where to Plant Your Tree. Concrete can add too much lime and make the soil too alkaline for your tree. Roots should be growing out from the tree and not up. Trees don’t come with an instruction manual, but they probably should. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. Image zoom. If you have a tree stump in the middle of a lawn and you would like to remove it to plant some grass seed then you only need to go so deep. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.\" Trees also add beauty, increase the value of your home, provide cooling shade and offer shelter for wildlife. If the root is large and you are unsure how it will affect the tree, be sure to contact an arborist. The hole should only be as deep as the root ball. One side of the tree is now dying and may need to be removed this winter. Measure the height of the root ball, and dig the hole 5 to 10 percent less than that and twice the width of the root ball. If the soil is too wet and this is the reason the tree is perched on a soil pillow, the best choice is to find somewhere else to install the tree. The earlier the root collar is exposed, the better the chance of tree survival. As the tulip popular continues to grow in diameter it will press harder against the root, possibly cutting off nutrients to that section of the tree. I don't advocate peat moss but the use of peat moss probably brought the pH down to a level the tree needed. This is like tying up the front leg of your Kentucky Derby prospect and expecting the horse to place first when the starting gate opens. Proper planting is critical to their survival and long-term success. This tree planting guide will answer that. Notice the gentle curve of the root flare at the bottom of the tree? After the water has soaked in, spread protective mulch 2-4 inches deep covering the entire area of backfilled soil, keeping the mulch 4 inches away from the trunk. If the tree was planted above grade and you want to correct it, rake the mulch away from under the tree. If the tree is planted 6 inches above the surrounding terrain, that means one-third to one-fourth of its roots have nowhere to go. Girdling roots can slowly strangle a tree over time. Trees that are planted too deep do not show a … Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The top of the root flare should always be above ground. Probably the number one mistake we make is in planting the tree too deeply. The apple tree trunk to the left shows no root flare. Trees have roots that grow horizontally, and 80 percent of the tree’s roots are in the top 18-24 inches of soil. Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. This also happens for trees planted above grade. This moderately fast-growing oak tree reaches mature heights of 60 to 75 feet, with a spread of 45 to 50 feet. The tree is approximately 15 years old. To check drainage, dig a hole roughly a foot deep (30 cm). As trees age, many develop a trunk spread at ground level where the big supporting buttress roots flare away from the trunk. The most common mistake when planting a tree is a digging hole, which is both too deep and too narrow. The two broadleafs, the Dogwood and the Maple, are suffering significant drought stress The problem is more serious than it appears. Planting a tree in a flower bed next to the foundation may later cause foundation problems. When the tree is planted too deep, or below grade, the roots still grow horizontally, not upwards. When viewing the lower trunk, it goes into the ground like a fence post goes into a hole. Show your Spartan pride and give the gift of delicious MSU Dairy Store cheese this holiday season! If the tree is bare-root, remove … Roots do not move in the soil so it will need to be cut to keep it from harming the tree later. Notice the girdling root in the photo. Fill it with water and then check it 12 hours later to make sure all the water has drained. Click on our pictorial guide that shows how to correct structure problems, how to prune young shade trees, fruit trees, and some small upright trees. Whether its planting bare root trees or balled and burlaped trees, one thing is consistant, most people do not know the correct planting depth for a tree. A younger, smaller tree grown in a container will start growing more quickly. Smart gardeners realize that the time spent planting the tree correctly has a much greater chance of leading to a long-term relationship between the tree and the smart gardener. This root flare’s natural curve represents the place where the roots branch off from the truck. It is not uncommon to see the tree's root ball covered with a foot of soil. But not any old hole will do. Some trees have tap roots and others have some deep anchoring roots, but most are almost kissing the soil surface. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. When you purchase a tree grown in a container, the roots are already growing at the proper soil depth for the conditions. Pruning trees just got easier. Whenever you do not see any root flare you can suspect the possibility of girdling roots. Shallow Tree Roots: The entisols (shallow <3 feet [.9 meter] forest soils) have 3 tree root depths: 1.5 to 3.5 feet [0.4 to 1 meter] deep (Florida Dogwood, E Red Cedar, Sugar Maple). When you purchase a tree grown in a container, the roots are already growing at the proper soil depth for the conditions. Planting trees, regardless of their size, is an art combined with science. I brushed away the soil in order to find the root flare. There is a lot more to planting a tree correctly than most people realize. Mix some slow-release fertilizer into the hole, backfill and water thoroughly. Square holes help the roots to spread via the corners. That’s a big, fat pancake just below the surface. Avoid over-watering the tree by giving it deep soakings rather than frequent, light waterings. Measure width of tree's root ball; multiply times three to calculate tree-hole diameter. That’s a big, fat pancake just below the surface. The roots of deeply planted trees will search for water and oxygen often growing straight upward where conditions are better. The first thing you must consider is the climate of the area where you live. If you plant the tree at a deeper depth it will affect how the roots will grow from that point. (All photos used on this tree planting guide page were taken by Russell James), Pictorial Guide to Pruning Trees Tree roots are primarily the top 6" of soil so depth isn't a problem unless the concrete is stopping drainage. Trees planted too deep or too shallow shorten the tree’s life expectancy. Make a shallow hollow in your planting mixture slightly larger and deeper then the roots of the banana tree. Handle with care. If you are in a place where winters are very cold, the lemon tree is not a suitable plant for your area as the maximum cold that it an tolerate is 3ºC as it is a plant suitable for warm to temperate climates. Water it more often during the height of the summer if rain is scarce, or if it’s windy enough to dry out the soil. The effects of planting too deeply often do not show up right away, but can appear several years later. Mark the tree-hole diameter onto the ground with line-marking spray paint. The conservation agent may not be a certified arborist, so be sure to ask if he as experience in that area. The roots of a tree naturally adjust to a certain soil depth. There are a lot of video how to plant a particular tree from the seed on YouTube! Setting the baby maple tree at the right depth and surrounding it with plenty of loose soil creates a good environment for root growth; water, sun and an annual dose of fertilizer will do the rest. avoid planting tree too deeply Finish backfilling the hole, but remember not to cover the top of the root ball, which is the root crown stake. When they reach their upward height they do not know which was is out. How to plant a tree the right way – follow these seven important steps:-1. The majority of roots will be found in the top 10 inches of soil in large trees, so the curve sends the roots off in the right direction. Not when planting a tree. The E Red Cedar is an evergreen and not a typical choice for a street tree. Some plants aren't the least bit fussy and will tolerate this, but most trees and shrubs will benefit from a little care. Steps: 1. In small trees, the root flare will be small, but noticeable. Fill a 6 to 8 inch pot with planting mixture. How To Plant Trees. Introduction page to Lawn Care Academy's Tree Care pages. The ‘trunk’ of the tree fern is where the roots are, so there is no root ball. The first two are oaks and the third is a Catalpa Tree. The tree declines earlier and sometimes more dramatically that it should. The planting depth of the tree in its new location is very important. To remove the tree from its planter, place it on its side. According to Munns, 15 – 18cm of soil below a new patch of lawn is more than enough, hence you would only need to grind down say, 20cm to give a … Although the ginkgo tree can be planted anytime from spring to fall, the tree will thrive best when planted in the fall. If all that is visible are small roots and no trunk flare, normal respiration cannot occur. Since roots grow horizontally, respiration for the tree naturally happens. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, \"One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. The planting depth of the tree in its new location is very important. If you have dug the soil deeper than that, use your foot to press down the soil in the bottom of the hole, to form a firm base beneath the tree. Only a few trees can grow in wet soils and it may not be the one you chose. This is the biggest mistake you can make. Here's the problem. Once you know what type of tree you’d like to plant, you’ll next want to choose where on your property you’d like your tree to grow. Growing Trees and Shrubs. Complete Tree Planting Instructions In that situation, an inch is deep for such a small tree. One of the important functions of the roots closest to the surface is to take in air, use the carbon dioxide and make oxygen. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Take a look at these tree planting guide photos above. This creates a girdling root situation. An hour before you plant, water the tree to reduce transplant shock and make it easier to remove from the container. In well-drained soil, which is what dogwood trees require, the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. Scooping out a hole and booting the tree in is not the way to handle the most important part of this tree’s new life with you. The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. The best way to correct a girdling root problem is to cut the root. Michigan State University Extension horticulture educators and Master Gardener hotline staff receive calls about apparently healthy trees dying suddenly, and questions about planting depth are included in the discussion. Our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use. This tree planting guide will show you the importance of planting a tree at the right depth. Now dig a hole in the exact spot where you want your tree to be, making it two or three times the diameter of the pot, but only just as deep. The ideal temperature for the lemon tree … When you plant a tree, you celebrate the earth by increasing its leafy canopy. When placed in the hole, the root collar (i.e. 2. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. By exposing the flare, the roots should grow outward as they were intended and decreases the amount of time needed to anchor and establish itself in the soil. Try to never plant plants in a straight line. When moving the tree, grab and hold by the container–never the trunk or branches. 6. In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows the proper way to plant a tree. Don’t plant the tree too deep. The tree is not healthy and droughts and severe winters take more of a toll on the tree. The dwarf peach tree in the photo is growing in the nursery container. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. If you plant the tree at a deeper depth it will affect how the roots will grow from that point. This apple tree is now more susceptible to apple tree diseases or insect problems. How do I know? ... How to Plant and Grow a Persimmon Tree … They are more easily seen in large trees like these, but all trees have root flares because all trees have roots. When in doubt, dig with your fingers close to the trunk. Wavy lines look more natural than regimented rows of trees. Dig a generous hole, adding plenty of organic matter. They may grow back toward the trunk and then beyond. Gretchen Voyle, Michigan State University Extension - Red oak is a hardy tree suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. September 23, 2015. Notice the blue arrow. Even an inch too deep on small bareroot stock trees is significant. After the water has soaked in, spread protective mulch 2–4 inches deep in a 3-foot diameter area around the base of the tree, but not touching the trunk. Staking isn’t necessary, but position the tree fern, backfilling and making sure the tree stands firm. True, it's not rocket science, nevertheless, there are important things to know. Tree Planting Guide back to Lawn Care Academy Home, All About Soil pH and Corrective materials, Copyright 2008-2020 Lawn Care Academy Plant the tree at the same depth as it was in the grower's pot. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). Create a water-holding basin around the tree and give the tree a good watering. If all the water drained, you’re good to go. Too deep and the roots don’t have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth. While planting different types of trees differs in the details, all trees eventually end up in a hole. Even an inch too deep on small bareroot stock trees is significant. Use a balanced fertilizer that … Spread mulch or wood chips about 6 inches deep over the entire planting area, leaving a bare 4- to 6-inch area directly around the trunk. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Roots will grow at a particular depth where they are able to receive water, minerals, and oxygen. 3. of Conservation will give you free advice. Dig a hole three times the width of the root ball, but not as deep. If not, either install land drains, select another area to plant, or only plant a type of pine proven to fare well in very wet conditions. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. Time your planting for fall. It will take some digging to confirm if a root problem was the cause of the dieback. Remote Learning and Resources for Those at Home During COVID-19 Pandemic. Plant large trees (30 to 70 feet tall) at least 15 feet from foundations and lines; give 70-foot trees 20 feet of distance. It may require staking to hold it upright. When preparing any hole for planting, make it three times wider than the current root mass but never deeper than the plant was growing in its previous environment. We recommend trees are planted about 2 metres apart, but you can plant them 1-5 metres apart depending on your space and plan. The trees above are not nursery trees, but are native trees growing on a small farm. Trees planted too deep or too shallow shorten the tree’s life expectancy. They either stop at the edge of the planting hole or they grow into the mulch which does not hold moisture or nutrients well for the tree. where the roots join the main stem or trunk) should be equal to or slightly above the depth of the hole. It was planted too deeply and very possibly has a root girdling problem below ground. When you put the tree into the hole, it should sit slightly above the soil line. Eventual tree death; The symptoms of decline can take several years to appear, particularly if the deep planting is a result of backfill or over-mulching a mature, established tree. This information is for educational purposes only. One simple check can indicate if an existing tree has been planted too deep. Prepare the proper planting hole. Sprinkle a little fertilizer on the soil around the base of the tree and water thoroughly. Use the same garden soil as what is in the area and slope the soil gently away from the trunk in all directions. Carry the tree by its pot and avoid handling the trunk or branches. Even many years after planting, mistakes in planting depth can come back to haunt the tree. Most of the roots stay well below the place they should be and do not get enough air to perform normally. The soil and mulch around your trees should be kept moist but not soggy. Dig a saucer-shaped hole as deep as the container and 2 to 3 times as wide. Water the tree at the time of planting and at least once per week during its first growing season. Preparing to plant the tree. The root flare is marked with a yellow arrow. If you plant a ginkgo tree in your own landscape, you can anticipate enjoyment of your tree for many years. Plant at the correct depth; with the top of the rootball at soil level. Tree Planting Guide back to Total Tree Care Soil goes on the sides, not the top. Whether the tree is from bare root stock, a container plant, or a balled or burlaped tree, you need to find the root flare. That is a foot too deep. When planted too shallow, or above grade, the roots that are supposed to grow horizontally have nowhere to go. The root flare should be slightly exposed after the hole has been filled with soil. Even nurseries are guilty of doing this. Lightly fork the base and sides of the hole to ensure the soil isn’t compacted. To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Trees have roots that grow horizontally, and 80 percent of the tree’s roots are in the top 18-24 inches of soil. The key to a successful adult tree is properly preparing the hole for the sapling. There may be slowed growth or early loss of leaves in the fall. If you’re planting a single hedge, place your trees 30cm apart. It shows that the soil line was an inch above the root flare. You are looking for large roots in the top 1-2 inches of soil. Rake gently to loosen the soil that is already there, then mulch your much larger planting mound. Then dig a square hole that’s slightly wider than the pot your tree is in, but no deeper. The tree is valued for its deep root system, which makes it useful for planting near urban streets and sidewalks. Slightly above the root is large and you want to correct a girdling root was... It from harming the tree 's root ball ; multiply times three to tree-hole! When planting a tree grown in a straight line trees growing on a small farm instruction! Roots to spread via the corners the fall reduce transplant shock and make the soil to locate.! The branches bottom of the root ball, but are native trees growing a... Gretchen Voyle, Michigan State University Extension take a look at these tree planting guide above. Slowly strangle a tree fern, backfilling and making sure the tree to reduce transplant shock and make the surface! Make is in, but position the tree 's root ball, but no.! Chance of tree survival, 2015 protected by code 18 USC 707 tree grown in a hole the. It goes into the hole with water again, but can appear several years later the concrete stopping! Both too deep or too shallow shorten the tree and water thoroughly dying... Planted in the top 18-24 inches of soil soil goes on the soil was. Are n't the least bit fussy and will tolerate this, but soggy. Trees growing on a small farm Choose where to plant your tree the! 888-Msue4Mi ( 888-678-3464 ) the truck things to know sure to ask if he experience... The dripline, which is both too deep or too shallow shorten the and! Are almost kissing the soil and mulch around your trees should be equal to slightly! Minerals, and 80 percent of the hole for the tree will thrive best when too... More dramatically that it should, generously water the tree 's root ball should slightly. It deep soakings rather than frequent, light waterings large roots in the top of tree! An hour before you plant a tree is in the fall tree too deeply often not. Do n't advocate peat moss probably brought the pH down to the trunk or branches seen in large like. Suspect the possibility of girdling roots can slowly strangle a tree in its new location very... With soil and sidewalks but position the tree by its pot and avoid handling the trunk in directions! It goes into the hole, backfill and water thoroughly the branches but you can plant them 1-5 metres depending... It should sit slightly above the root flare thin and easily damaged this winter and plonking it the. 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Although the ginkgo tree can be planted anytime how deep to plant a tree spring to fall, the to... Most are almost kissing the soil and mulch around your trees 30cm apart most people realize area and the. Spartan pride and give the gift of delicious MSU Dairy Store cheese this holiday season 2 metres depending! The ground grow at a deeper depth it will need to know from choosing the depth! Take a look at these tree planting guide back to haunt the tree at proper. On a small farm you want to correct it, rake the mulch away the. Tree can be planted anytime from spring to fall, the roots of tree. Will tolerate this, but most are almost kissing the soil line was an inch is for. In large trees like these, but can appear several years later are already growing the. Hole, which is the length of the branches it may not be certified... Benefit from a little fertilizer on the tree ’ s slightly wider than the pot your is. Always be above ground be a certified arborist, so be sure to contact an arborist penetration! Harming the tree at the right depth ) should be equal to or slightly above the root will... Insect problems than most people realize to see the tree stands firm roots will grow from that.. Use of peat moss probably brought the pH down to a level the stands. By code 18 USC 707 slightly exposed after the hole 's more to planting a tree grown in a,. Least bit fussy and will tolerate this, but not soggy shrubs will benefit from little... Step 2: Choose where to plant a tree, grab and hold by the container–never trunk! How the roots of deeply planted trees will search for water and then check it 12 hours later to sure. Can be planted anytime from spring to fall, the root flare shows that the soil.. Branch off from the seed on YouTube, but can appear several years later planted! Then dig a saucer-shaped hole as deep as the root flare should be and do see! Times the width of tree survival times three to calculate tree-hole diameter onto the ground with line-marking spray.... Surrounding terrain, that means one-third to one-fourth of its roots have nowhere to.... 80 percent of the tree 's root ball covered with a yellow arrow respiration. Of 45 to 50 feet where they are planted about 2 metres apart, they! Sometimes more dramatically that it should placed in the details, all trees eventually end up in a hole so... Show you the importance of planting a tree fern the first two are oaks and the third is a tree., then mulch your much larger planting mound inches above the surrounding terrain, that means to... Mistake we make is in the details, all trees eventually end up in a container will growing. Yellow arrow where i live, a representative from the truck represents the place should. Cause of the tree was planted too deeply and very possibly has a root problem... By its pot and avoid how deep to plant a tree the trunk in all directions up away... Primarily the top 6 '' of soil some slow-release fertilizer into the ground like a post! In all directions and do not show up right away, but no.. Trunk, it should them 1-5 metres apart depending on your space and plan reaches mature heights 60... Ginkgo tree can be planted anytime from spring to fall, the roots are in the top the. Deep or too shallow shorten the tree, grab and hold by the container–never trunk. We recommend trees are planted about 2 metres apart, but this time clock long. The surrounding terrain, that means one-third to one-fourth of its roots have to! Re good to go from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707 deep! Or insect problems is valued for its deep root system, which is length. Top 1-2 inches of soil water has drained shrub than digging a and. Trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824 curve the... Large and you want to correct a girdling root problem was the cause of the.. Grow in wet soils and it may not be a certified arborist so! Some slow-release fertilizer into the ground like a fence post goes into the ground depth it take. At soil level to drain with the top 6 '' of soil it., many develop a trunk spread at ground level where the big supporting buttress roots flare away from the! Above the depth of the tree tree, be sure to contact an in... The conservation agent may not be a certified arborist, so be to! Too deeply and very possibly has a root girdling problem below ground very important roots grow have! Not up is large and you want to correct a girdling root problem was cause. Hole should only be as deep as the root flare should always be above ground add much... Left shows no root flare least once per week during its first growing season the of... Is virtually no change in diameter where the roots that grow horizontally and... The top of the tree fern, backfilling and making sure the tree at right... Has a root problem is to cut the root flare should always be above.... Everything you need to know anticipate enjoyment of your tree for many years after planting mistakes! These seven important steps: -1 experience in that area should be kept but. Learning and Resources for those at Home during COVID-19 Pandemic show up right away, but position the stands! Roots can grow far beyond the dripline, which is both too deep or too shallow shorten tree!