Planting and Watering

Planting Trees or Shrubs

    • will your new plant receive enough light?
    • does it have enough space to grow away from other plants and structures)
  • DIG: Dig your hole 2 to 3 times the width of the container. Most roots spread outwards – not downwards. Create a saucer shape
    • check which way you’d like it to face – looking at the plants features such as branching and growth habit
    • check the soil level in the pot – is the root flare visible? (There is always a root flare on trees and shrubs – which should be above the soil level once it’s planted). Sometimes it’s very subtle but it’s located just above the main feeder roots.
    • Plant the tree/shrub – slightly higher than the surrounding soil – up to 25%, being sure that the flare is visible when the hole is re-filled with soil (sometime plants sink slightly as they settle. By planting higher you will avoid the problems that emerge when plants sink into the soil).
  • REMOVE THE PLANT: Roll the plant it on its side and remove the container, wrap or cut the wire and REMOVE.
    • tease the fine roots out from the root ball by scoring the surface with a sharp tool.
  • BACKFILL: Once the plant is placed appropriately, backfill with the soil that you removed from the hole. Don’t add amendments – only mulch the surface when done – see next point.
  • MULCH: Add a 2″ or 5 cm, layer of mulch. Keep the mulch away from the bark of the trunk or stems to avoid chances of diseases or pests to penetrate the bark. The mulch should extend to at least, the drip line of the branches (those are the outer branches.


  • Water when there isn’t sufficient rainfall until your plant is established. This may be a matter of a couple of months or it may take a couple seasons of growth.
  • Generally trees and shrubs need at least 1″ or 2-3cm per week right until freeze up! (late November)
  • If you’re new plant is near other established plants, they may soak up any available moisture or, the leaf canopy of a nearby tree may prevent the it from reaching the roots of your new plant.
    • Slow watering near the root zone, over a longer period is better than a short intense spray from the hose.
  • Be careful not to over-water a new plant (I’ve had personal experience here)
    • If you’re unsure, dig into the soil carefully about 3-5″, 10 cm down. Is the soil moist? Remember cool soil is not necessarily moist soil.