Handle New Trees & Shrubs With Care!

When taking plants home from the grower, consider investing in a grower's nominal delivery fee if plants are too large or unwieldy for your vehicle. Also, consider doing the following:
  • Always pick up the plant from the bottom of the root ball or support the root system on a handcart. Do not lift it by the trunk / branches or drop it onto the ground. Remember, your goal is an intact root system!
  • Carefully move the plant into and out of the vehicle.
  • Stabilize the plant in your trunk or truck bed so that it does not roll around.
  • Cover the plant with a sheet or tarp to protect its branches from damaging winds.
  • Wedge your trunk door open or pad the area of the door so that it does not damage the plant. Securely tie the trunk.
  • When planting make the hole width as much as 3 times the diameter of the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball. The tree needs support. Therefore, it should rest on undisturbed soil. It is important to make the hole wide because the roots must push into the surrounding soil to become established. On most lots in new developments, the existing soils have been compacted and are unsuitable for healthy root growth. Breaking up the soil in a large area around the plant provides the newly emerging roots space to expand into loose soil to hasten establishment.
Further Tips
  • Identify the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the roots spread at the base of the tree. The top of the flare should be visible after the tree is planted.
  • Place the tree at the proper height. If the tree is planted too deep, roots will have difficulty developing due to a lack of oxygen. It is better to place the plant a little high than to plant it below the original growing level.
  • Cut or straighten any roots of containerized plants that are circling around the root ball. Containers should be carefully removed while holding the plant at its base by gently pulling or cutting.
  • Remove nylon twine and treated (often tinted green) burlap from balled and burlapped plants.
  • Fill the hole gently but firmly.
  • Place a circle of mulch around the tree. It should be 2 inches deep and should be placed around the new planting.
  • Water your tree. Proper watering is the single most important aspect of maintenance of transplanted trees, but definite rules are difficult to give. Too much or too little can result in tree death. The object of watering the tree is to soak the soil of the entire root zone. Watering should be done in a very slow trickle at the base of the tree. Frequency of watering depends on temperature, wind and soil type.