Planting trees can take place any time throughout the year. It is important first to take a good look at the location you have chosen. Is there enough room for proper development of the tree canopy and roots? Are you putting the right tree in the right place? Are you too close to utilities, buildings or sidewalks? It’s important to call 1-800-STAKE IT 48-72 hours before digging. Blue Stake will locate the underground wires and mark them with paint.
Prior to planting, perform a percolation test by digging a hole and filling with water. If the water drains less than 1” per hour, you may need to dig through the underlying hardpan. It is common to run into layer of hardened calcium carbonate called caliche in our desert soils. It is impenetrable, preventing the movement of water. You will need to drill through this layer on either side of the planting area to allow for drainage. Locate existing irrigation or install the needed irrigation to insure proper watering.
Shallow is better than deep when it comes to digging a hole. A hole 3 times the diameter of the root ball it recommended. The larger the hole the greater anticipated root growth. The depth of the hole should be less than the height of the root ball about 10% especially in compacted or clay soils. Pre wetting soil will help to keep the plant alive the first day.
Find the trunk flare (root flare, root crown). The flare is the swelling where the roots join the trunk.
Remove soil and planting media until the top of the root ball is visible. Often soil and mulches are several inches deep in the top of containers. Gently press on the container to remove and place root ball in hole. Make 2-4 slices about ½ inch deep from the top to the bottom of the container. The roots will regrow into the backfill. Girdling or circling roots need to be cut with a knife especially at the bottom.
Place the root flare slightly above the soil surface. Better to plant about 10% high than level or deep. Be sure to check from all sides to see if the trunk is straight.
We recommend minimal pruning. Only remove dead or broken branches. Back fill soil using shovel blade or water to release trapped air. Cover the back fill with mulch at least out to the drip line, 2” if rock, 3-4” if organic. Stake the tree only if it is necessary. Primary staking is common because plants aren’t able to spread roots in nursery containers and should be considered temporary.
Sit back and enjoy your beautiful tree.