- Dig hole twice as wide and not quite as deep as the soil in the plant container. Make sure you dig sides of hole deeper than center to encourage root growth and drainage.
- Make sure the top of the root ball as it exists in the container is slightly above ground level. Do not put ANY dirt or mulch around the trunk of the tree or shrub. You will kill your tree if you bury the crown. (Note: for heavier and poor draining soils elevate your tree up higher to increase drainage away from tree roots).
- Only mix up to 30% compost or foreign soil with 70% of your existing soil. Backfill with mixture. If you put all compost in it may burn the new roots. If you backfill with pure potting soil the roots will have a hard time adapting to the poor soil once roots grow beyond original hole.
- Do not break up root ball when planting. If plant is truly root bound, use strong stream of water to loosen and uncoil roots or score the sides using a pair of shears or sharp knife (Scoring roots and loosening root ball will typically make foliage of tree or shrub wilt).
- Most trees should be double staked as shown in diagram using 8' x 2" round stakes with rubber straps. Place stakes at right angles to the prevailing wind. Place tree ties just under where branching begins. The "nursery" stakes provided with most trees are not strong enough to support the trees by themselves.
- Most trees should be watered with this goal: "The root zone should be kept moist but not saturated". Make sure water is put directly on root ball. Do not plant anything in a hole where water does not drain away. To check if your tree or shrub is getting too much or too little water, dig down next to root ball before next watering and pick up some soil in your hand. If water squirts out when you squeeze it, you need to decrease water. If it appears dry, increase water.