How to Plant a Containerized Tree

Planting Location of Containerized Trees

  • Verify that the hardiness zone, sunlight, soil type, drainage, and terrain of the planting location match the needs of the tree selected. These factors play a major role in tree survival.
  • Choose a planting site large enough to accommodate the mature height and width of the tree species.

Planting Containerized Trees

  • Dig a hole two to three times wider than the container and about the same depth as the container, with sloping sides to allow for proper root growth.
  • Rough up the edges of the hole to promote good root growth into the ground.
  • Break up any soil clumps in the hole to prevent air pockets.
  • Carefully remove the tree from the container, keeping the soil around the roots intact.
  • Set the tree in the middle of the hole. Position tree depth so the bud union is just above the ground. Since the tree will settle with the first rain, compensate by raising it 1 extra inch now.
  • Secure the tree in the hole and fill the hole with the original soil, packing it to ensure there are no air pockets. Backfill until the soil is just below the root collar.

Fertilizing Containerized Trees

  • After the containerized tree is planted and the soil has been backfilled, place the slow-release fertilizer packet 3 to 4 inches from the tree root, at a depth of roughly 3 to 4 inches.

Watering Containerized Trees

  • Now water the tree. Provide a deep, soaking watering for each containerized tree now and once a week for the first two growing seasons.
  • Lack of water is the number one killer of newly planted trees.

Weed Mat and Tree Protector Installation for Containerized Trees

  • The weed mat and tree protector give the tree the best opportunity for survival.
  • Carefully lower the weed mat over the tree, sliding the top of the tree through the X cut in the weed mat. (If you need to prune back the lower limbs of the tree, follow the pruning instructions below.) Bring the weed mat to the ground.
  • Fold the corners of the mat to double the thickness for the staples to go through.
  • Insert the staples through the mat corners firmly into the ground, angling them slightly away from the tree to keep the mat taut.
  • Pound the tree protector stake into the ground on the prevailing-wind side of the tree, about 2.5 inches away from the tree base.
  • Slide the protector down over the trees, being careful not to damage the branches.
  • Use the ties to attach the tube to the stake.

Pruning Containerized Trees

  • If the tree is large enough that it sticks out of the tube, you may prune it, being careful not to over-prune.
  • Use sharp shears. Make cuts just above an outward-facing bud, at a 45-degree angle (so that the cut surface faces outward from the tree).
  • Pruning cuts in young trees are important to create scaffolding branches. This is one of the most important aspects of early tree care.