Planting a tree or shrub is easy! At Rainbow Gardens, we make it even easier with our simple-to-follow Tree and Shrub Planting & Care Guide. Remember to carry your trees and shrubs home by the container or root ball (never the trunk) to avoid damage. Use a tarp to protect your tree on the ride home. Highway winds can burn and damage the leaves.
6 Easy Steps for Planting Trees and Shrubs
1. Dig the hole no deeper than the height of the root ball and twice as wide as the root ball. Digging a hole at the proper height and width is imperative to the health and life of your tree. Put the native soil in a wheelbarrow or on top of a piece of plastic adjacent to the hole. Throw away any caliche and rock that is found in the soil. If a lot of rock is encountered consider building a large raised bed.
2. Backfill the hole with the native soil that was removed when digging the hole. If your soil is very poor, you can amend the backfill soil by using a mix of 1/3 soil conditioner with 2/3 native soil. (Only use soil conditioner or finished compost to mix with native soil; no potting soil.) Gently tap the container and slide out the root ball, being careful not to break up the root system. If the root ball will not come out easily, cut the pot with a utility knife or scissors.
3. Carefully set the tree or shrub in the hole, holding on to the root ball. Make sure trunk is perpendicular to ground. Top of root ball should be even with ground level or slightly above. Fill in around the sides of the root ball with the soil mixture, firming the soil as you fill to eliminate air pockets.
4. Build a 4 inch tall berm around the edge of the planting hole with living mulch for efficient watering. Water the tree/shrub thoroughly. Adding root stimulator afterwards will aid in root hair development. Fill the berm with 4 inches of shredded mulch to conserve water and eliminate competing weeds/grasses. (Never pile mulch adjacent to the tree trunk. Wet mulch touching the tree’s bark can cause the bark to rot and may injure or kill the tree.) After mulching, water tree again.
- The secret to watering is to water thoroughly each time. Bring a hose to the berm and let it trickle soak very slowly for 40-60 minutes. The idea is to water deeply, encouraging roots to grow deeper. Do not water again until the root ball is fairly dry. It is better to slightly underwater than to overwater.
- Start off with two deep soakings a week when the weather is warm or hot. Increase the number of days between deep soakings as the tree becomes rooted in. Watch the weather and adjust watering accordingly.
- Your goal is to “wean” your trees/shrubs off of depending on you for water as opposed to natural rainfall. The advantage to fall planting is that very little supplemental watering is needed during the fall, winter, and early spring. Your fall palnted trees and shrubs should be well rooted by summer heat time.
5. Prevent weed eater damage around base of the tree/shrub by keeping grass cleared away from the trunk or by using a rubber “tree boot”. Most trees do not need staking, but if you are planting on a slope or a particular area where your tree would be exposed to high winds, loosely stake new trees for 6-12 months to prevent damage. Trees should be able to sway fairly naturally while staked. Shrubs should not need staking. Remove stakes after one year.
6. Your tree or shrub does not need to be fertilized the first 6 months. Fertilize your trees and shrubs in early spring and early fall with a tree/shrub fertilizer. Trees in the legume family, like Mt. Laurels, Mesquites and Acacias need minimal fertilizer after planting. For more info on planting trees and shrubs correctly, plus mulching and watering, check out “When it comes to planting trees, don’t dig too deep.”
Now that you’ve got your guide, go get to planting!
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy
I have persimmon tree that has a stake at the base of the tree trunk, should i take that out or let it stay for 6 mos. or will i move the stake away from the tree trunk?
Has the tree been planted already? Was the stake in the pot when you bought the tree and is now planted with the tree? If so, remove the stake. Once planted, most young trees generally do not need to be staked unless the tree is being planted on a slope or in an area where it will be susceptible to high, damaging winds. Most likely the stake was in the container to support the tree in its transplant phase to prevent it from falling over in the container and damaging roots. You can remove the stake now if it has been planted with your tree.
What kind of tree could we plant in our front yard for shade? This area has sun all day. I’d like some shade and something attractive. Thank you.
You really need to make sure you know how big you’d like the tree depending on the areas surrounding it to know exactly what you should buy. Always be aware of the mature height of trees and then measure how far from the house, streets, overhanging wires, etc. you would need to plant. Some of our favorite shade trees that do well here in Texas (in full sun) are: Texas Red Oaks (gorgeous red leaves in fall), Cedar Elms (golden-yellow fall leaves), Mexican White Oak/Monterrey Oak, Chiquapin Oak, Lacey Oak, and Lacebark Elm. You could look these up and see if they interest you. Best time to plant trees is right around the corner in true fall when the daytime temperatures have cooled a little more.
I am wanting to plant an Orange tree?? Am I in the wrong time of the year for that?? Thanks,
Fall is always the best time to plant trees and shrubs, however early spring is still a viable option. We have an upcoming Citrus Patio and Landscape seminar that you may be interested in, since some citrus is not very cold hardy and you could learn some tips for successful planting. Satsumas are a favorite for those wanting to plant oranges because they have the best cold tolerance for San Antonio.
Hi, What types of tree you recommend for back yard privacy and friendly to bees and butterflies. Soil in my area is mostly clay and rocks.
Let’s see if this link goes through.
Sorry, link did not work.
Taken from a native butterfly list for Texas, you can look up these trees: Texas Kidneywood,Carolina Laurel Cherry, Mexican Plum,Texas Almond,Escarpment Black Cherry, Eastern Redbud,Western Soapberry,Mexican Buckeye.
I purchased a Balm Cypress Tree. Is it slow growing or fast growing. And I notice here in San Antonio they may not grow as large, is that true? Is it good for shade?
Sorry your comment slipped by. Bald Cypress do well in San Antonio providing you have at least 18″, or preferably deeper, decent soil. Consistent irrigation is needed to get them established. It grows about 2′-2.5′ per year, which is fairly fast, and is a good shade tree option, though it is deciduous.
do you have mock orange shrubs?
Not currently. Is there a location you prefer to shop at?