Planting Bare-Root Trees

About four weeks before planting, clear the site of weeds.

Step 1: Do a Level Check

Level Check

Level Check

Use a cane or piece of wood to check that your hole is deep enough to come up to the dark soil mark on the stem of the tree before planting. If tree mark comes above the cane, then you need to dig deeper.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Dig a circular hole as for container-grown trees. Lay a cane across the hole and use it to check that the dark soil mark on the stem of the tree is just above it.

Step 2: Hold Upright

Hold Upright

Hold Upright

When planting a bare-root tree, hold the tree upright or have someone help you. Backfill the hole with soil, a little at a time, firming it in and around the the roots with your fingers.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Hold the tree upright—or, better, get someone else to hold it—and backfill the hole with soil, a little at a time, firming it in and around the roots with your fingers.

Step 3: Firm Soil

Use a Firm Heel

Use a Firm Heel

When planting a bare-root tree, once the hole is filled, start firming with your heel from the edge to reduce the risk of the soil sinking.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Once the hole is filled, start firming with your heel from the edge to reduce the risk of the soil sinking and the planting level becoming too low.

Step 4: Water and Fill in Dips

Water in Well

Water in Well

When planting a bare-root tree, water in well then check the level again and fork over to fill any dips.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water in well, then check the level again and fork over to fill any dips. There is no need to scatter fertilizer. In fact, this is more likely to cause harm by burning the roots, which will then not be capable of taking up nutrients for at least the first year.

Step 5: Stake at an Angle

Stake at an Angle

Stake at an Angle

When planting a bare-root tree, knock a short stake into the ground at an angle of 45 degrees. Secure the trunk to the stake using a buckle-and-spacer tree tie allowing for the stem to increase in girth.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Knock a short stake into the ground at an angle of 45 degrees. Secure the trunk to the stake using a buckle-and-spacer tree tie that allows for the stem to increase in girth without chafing. Check it at least twice during the growing season as the tree matures, and loosen if it becomes too tight.

Step 6: Spread Mulch

Mulch Tips

Mulch Tips

For bare-root trees, mulch around the tree using a fibrous, open-textured material, such as a well-rotted compost. Do not let it come in contact with the tree stem, where moisture may cause rot.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mulch around the tree using a fibrous, open-textured material, such as well-rotted compost. Spread it in a layer 21⁄2–3 in (5–6 cm) deep, but do not let it come in contact with the tree stem, where the moisture may cause rot.

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