How To Plant A Tree On A Slope Or Embankment

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This article provides instructions for how to plant a tree on a slope, hill, or emankment
by Brett · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · January 18, 2013 · 35,723 views

Planting On A Slope

The method for planting a tree or shrub on a slope, hillside, or embankment is different than when planting on level ground.

Below are general guidelines for properly planting a tree on a slope in most average garden soils.

STEP 1 - Begin by digging a hole at least twice as wide and no deeper than the root ball of the tree. As you will need to create a berm to help retain water for the tree, place the soil removed from the planting hole just beneath the hole on the slope.

STEP 2 - Remove tree from container and use a knife or claw tool to scratch exterior of root ball to loosen feeder roots. Place tree in hole making sure that the top edge of the root ball is level with the back or upper side of the planting hole. Place additional soil in bottom of hole to make sure root ball is at the proper height and level and so that tree is vertically straight.

STEP 3 - If your soil is dense or compacted clay, mix a planting soil, soil conditioner, or your own home-made compost at a 50/50 ratio with soil that was removed from the planting hole. Back fill the soil mixture to top edge of root ball, tamping as you go to remove any air pockets. Do not place any soil on top of root ball.

STEP 4 - With remaining soil mixture, or additional native top soil, build a water retention mound on the lower side of the planting hole. The amount of soil you will need will depend on the steepness of the slope. This mound should rise up several inches above the top of the root ball.

STEP 5 - Broadcast a good granular tree fertilizer, or organic fertilizer, atop root ball at rates suggested on product label. An excellent alternative method of fertilization for your tree is slow release Agriform Fertilizer Tablets. The size tablet I use requires one tablet per 1/2" of trunk diameter. After planting, simply press the tablet into the soil to about a 3 to 4-inch depth at a point halfway between the perimeter of the hole and the outside edge of the root ball. Or drop them in during the back-filling process.

STEP 7 - After planting, fill water retension area with water and allow to soak in. Repeat this process one or two more times. Thereafter, water as necessary to keep soil damp but not soaking wet. Dormant trees planted during the winter will require little if any water until they break from dormancy in spring, provided there is regular rainfall. Trees planted in late spring through summer will require closer attention to watering, but be careful not to overwater! Check soil moisture before watering using the finger test.

STEP 8 - For larger trees staking may be necessary. Tree stake kits are perhaps the easiest way to go about this process. You can make your own stakes from scrap lumber, however, make sure to consult with your local independent nursery and garden center professional about proper staking method. Usually, tree stakes can be removed after one year or one active growth season (spring, summer, fall).

SEE: How To Stake A Tree

STEP 9 - To retain adequate moisture, apply a 2-3" layer of shredded wood mulch, or a 5-6" layer pine straw, to a distance of 2-3 feet from trunk of tree, or just beyond water retaining ring. Do not allow the mulch to come into direct contact with the trunk of the tree.


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