· Brooks Wilson's Answer
· Planting a Tree
Below are general guidelines for properly planting a container-grown tree in most average garden soils, particularly those in the South, with the exception of sandy, quick-draining soils.
If your soil is sandy let me know and I'll give you the preferred planting method. Also, if the tree is balled in burlap let me know and I'll give you a few more instructions that you will need.
STEP 1 - Begin by digging a hole at least twice as wide and no deeper than the rootball of the tree.
STEP 2 - Remove tree from container and scratch exterior of root ball to a depth of at least 2 inches to loosen feeder roots. Use a knife or claw tool of some sort to loosen roots. Place tree in hole making sure that the top edge of the root ball is 1-2" above ground level. If necessary, place additional soil in the bottom of the planting hole to adjust and achieve proper height.Note:Japanese Maples and Dogwoods should be planted with top edge of rootball at 4-6" above ground level as they will not tolerate wet feet without suffering sometimes fatal injury to roots. When planting on a slope, where there is sufficient drainage, you may plant them with top edge pof root ball level to the ground.
STEP 3 - Mix organic soil ammendment, or your own home-made compost, at a 50/50 ratio with soil that was removed from the planting hole. Backfill soil mixture to top edge of rootball, tamping as you go to remove any air pockets, and taper gradually from top edge of root ball to ground level. Essentially, you are planting the rootball in a slightly "raised mound" to insure good drainage. Some trees, such as Weeping Willows and River Birch, can be planted level with the ground as they prefer moisture retentive soils. Do not place any soil on top of rootball.
STEP 4 - With remaining soil mixture, or additional native top soil, build a water retaining ring around the perimeter of the mound to a height of around 3 to 6 inches or so, depending on the size of the tree and it's relative water needs.
STEP 5 - Broadcast a good granular tree fertilizer, or organic fertilizer, atop rootball at rates suggested on product label.
STEP 6An excellent alternative method of fertilization for your tree is slow release Agriform Fertilizer Tablets. The size tablet we 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 backfilling 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, dormant trees planted during the Winter will require litlle 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 1 year, or one complete active growth period (Spring to Fall).
STEP 9 - To retain adequate moisture, apply a 2-3" layer of wood mulch, or a 5-6" layer pinestraw, to a distance of 2-3 feet from trunk of tree, or just beyond water retaining ring.
I got this information from an article here in Gardenality. You can view a diagram on this article page:www.gardenality.com/Articles/280/How-To-Info/Planting/How-To-Plant-A-Tree/default.html
Hope this helps you.