Tree Planting 101

Tree Planting 101

Tree Planting 101

Planting a tree may seem straight forward, but it is not always as easy as it seems. Simply put, plant leaves up and roots down. The added stress of making sure your newly purchased tree survives it’s first winter leads us to provide a few more detailed instructions.

Ultimately you are dealing with a live product, the sooner it can be planted into the garden the better. Follow these instructions to ensure proper growth and survival of your new tree, and if you require more advice or need further instruction, call or chat online with our experts at Blue Grass, we’d be happy to help!

Steps for Tree Planting:

  1. Ensure the tree you are considering suits your yard and purpose. Choose the right tree for the right spot; full sun, shade, soil conditions, low areas, dry locations, impact, mature size, maintenance level, deciduous or evergreen and purpose are several factors to consider.
  2. Depending on the size of tree you purchase, decide if pick up or delivery* suits you best. If taking it home yourself, make sure it is secure in your vehicle, laying flat and wrapped, if possible, to avoid wind whip.
  3. When to plant is the ultimate question, and generally as soon as possible and when it causes your tree the least amount of stress. Plant trees in spring once frost is out of the ground, or in the fall prior to freeze up. As our growing season is relatively short, planting any time can be successful if care and attention are provided to your new tree throughout its first and second season.
  4. Always remember to call before you dig. Prepare the planting spot by digging a hole at least two times wider than the pot or root ball and as deep as the tree collar to the base of the root ball. (Do not plant tree deeper than it is in the pot). Make sure water will not pool in the bottom of the hole, test for drainage if soil appears to be solid clay, to avoid water logging. Loosen or roughen up sides and bottom of hole to allow for drainage and room for roots to grow.
  5. Remove pot prior to setting into the hole. If burlapped and wired, remove wire, and untie twine and remove with burlap. Burlap can be left to rot in hole if it is not visible above soil and soil remains moist.
  6. Settle tree into hole and adjust, if necessary, stand back and ensure tree is straight and in desired position. Back fill with dug up soil if suitable, amend if needed but don’t over do it, add Root Rescue, Mykes or other transplant fertilizer to the hole. Tamp soil around root ball well as you backfill to avoid air pockets. Top dress with Sea Soil and/or compost and mulch to ensure root ball maintains even moisture and temperatures throughout season. Do not mound soil or mulch above collar (trunk flare). (See Tree Canada diagram below)
  7. All trees require regular watering to become established. Water in well on day of planting, followed by slow, deep watering every day for first week, second week water every few days, third and fourth water once a week (allow water to soak into soil, if it pools, stop). Going forward apply water, slowly and deeply every two weeks or as needed through heat of season and until ground freezes. Overwatering can be as detrimental as underwatering.
  8. Apply fertilizer when planting to promote root growth, and again spring through summer during the growing season. Always follow directions on fertilizer container to avoid over fertilizing your tree(s).
  9. Most trees do not need to be staked and grow better when they are able to move. Movement of the trunk helps strengthen it by thickening it and helps develop a taper from bottom to top.  However, when trees are planted in exposed, windy sites it may become necessary to stake.  Staking is temporary and needs to be taken off after no more than two years.
  10. A healthy tree will resist pests and disease, but if your tree exhibits signs of disease or pests, contact us or an arborist to diagnose the problem and apply necessary treatment. Take a good look at your tree occasionally for any problems, prune as required, water and fertilize as needed, and enjoy it for many years to come!


*Blue Grass Nursery and Garden Centre provides planting services for any trees purchased from Blue Grass. We offer full-service planting, which includes delivering the trees, digging the hole, planting the tree with appropriately supplied soils, fertilizers, and additives, and backfilling around the tree. We also clean up after the job is complete by taking away any leftover soils and debris. Blue Grass does require all utility locations marked prior to any digging or planting.

*Shop online for trees at Blue Grass, create a wish list, or check them out in person starting as early as the beginning of May depending on the spring and take advantage of clearance deals up to October, while supplies last.  Find a tree in a park or neighbours garden that you like?  Take a photo and bring it in or send it in for help in identifying it.