IMPORTANT: All plants should be thoroughly watered before planting; trees, shrubs, and perennials may need to be soaked in a bucket of water for 30 minutes before planting to thoroughly wet the root ball. Bedding plants may be dipped in water or a half-strength solution of water and fertilizer. A dry or partially dry root ball will not soak up water once planted.
Dig hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball. Mix 1/3 compost, or other organic matter with the soil you removed. A root stimulator, such as Roots (trees and shrubs) or Bio-tone (trees, shrubs, and perennials) may be added at this time along with Biophos (breaks up clay soils and makes nutrients more readily available to plant roots).
Carefully remove the plant from the container, without lifting from the trunk of the tree, shrub or stems of perennials and bedding plants (root damage can occur by lifting on the trunk). Loosen the roots on the sides and bottom of the root ball by cutting 4 shallow vertical slices and gently working the roots loosely with your hands, this will eliminate circular root growth (perennials and bedding plants may only need to be loosened with your fingers).
Set tree or shrub in the planting hole**. The top of the root ball should be slightly above ground level, this will keep the plant from being planted too deep once the mulch is added. Backfill halfway with soil mix and fill the planting hole with water. Use a stake to tamp soil without packing it. This will help remove air pockets, continue to backfill the hole, water and tamp. Do not pack soil around the root ball by stepping on the freshly backfilled soil. A soil berm may be built to help hold in water. Water well once planted*.
A 2-3" layer of mulch is recommended to hold in moisture. Always keep mulch 3" away from trunk or base of the plant.
Newly planted trees and shrubs should not be fertilized the first year.
When mulching keep the mulch a few inches away from the plant base (trunk or stems).
*Water new plantings deeply once a week (1″ of water per week). In the heat of the summer, you may need to water more often. Check the soil under the mulch to see if watering is needed. You may water deeply by setting a hose to trickle slowly at the plant base. Allow 10 minutes of slow trickle per foot of height, or set a 5-gallon bucket filled with water at the plant base. Punch a nail size hole in the side near the bottom of the bucket, this will allow the water to trickle out slowly. Established plantings (2nd year) may need less frequent watering; always water deep with the slow trickle method.
**Perennials should be planted at the same depth as in the pot. Bedding plants may be planted deeper or at the same level depending on the variety being planted.
After the first year, fertilize your plants according to package directions. We recommend organic fertilizers and soil amendments, as they will help improve and build your soil over time.