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Be a better gardener


Be a better gardener

How to properly plant a tree: The Baltimore Valley Guide


Before you plant

· Choose a tree that is suitable for your planting site, keeping in mind the soil condition and light. You want to choose a tree that will thrive in your conditions.

· Establish how deep and how wide you need to dig the hole for planting.

· Remove the sod.  Keep the valuable soil underneath the sod.  You can use the sod later to use as a berm for water retention.

· Dig the hole 2 to 3 times the width of the pot, but not much deeper than the depth of the pot. Find the root flare that comes off the trunk, and that must be slightly above ground 1”-3”.  If you dig into sub soil, finish top soil area first and save for re-planting. Dig sub soil out and discard.

Soil Amendments

We recommend using composted manure, plant starter (fertilizer/bone meal), and also Mycorrhizae.

· After you have dug the hole, apply some of the plant starter at the bottom of the hole and mix it in.

· Add some composted manure and mix in.

· Gently pull the root ball out of the pot. Open up the root system if needed by teasing the roots apart. To free very matted or circling roots, make several vertical cuts ½” to 1” deep through the root mass.

· Put a layer of Mycorrhizae on top of the planting bed.  (The Mycorrhizae needs to be in contact with the roots). Then apply the Mycorrhizae all over the roots.

· Add compost to your removed soil along with more plant starter. (A wheelbarrow is useful here).

· Proceed to backfill around the tree with your mixture of soil, composted manure and plant starter. Use a hard rake to even the surface and remove any debris.

· Create a moat around the area for water with a berm to hold it.  Pour water into the moat and it will find its way around the outside of the tree.  Maintain a good sized moat and berm for one or two years.

· Make sure the water is around the root ball, not so much up to the trunk. When the water sinks in, the roots will sense it and reach for it.

· Stake your tree if needed. You can use wooden or metal stakes.

· The last step is to mulch the tree.  Mulch helps keep the soil moist, keeps the weeds from growing and keeps the roots cool on hot days and insulated in winter.  It also has a professional finished look.


Plants grown in plastic pots tend to dry out more quickly; therefore, more frequent watering may be necessary to avoid plant wilt.  It takes several weeks for roots to extend beyond the original soil ball, so be sure to check this area as it often dries out faster than surrounded garden soil.  Deep watering encourages a deep root system and your plant will become more drought tolerant.

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It's not just dirt

It's not just dirt