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How To Plant A Tree: Getting Your Tree Out of its Pot and Into the Ground

Most of us know the benefits of planting a tree. From preventing erosion to putting more oxygen into the atmosphere to helping combat global warming, the incredible power of a tree can go a long way. 

But what you might not know is how to plant a tree. It’s easy to assume that planting a tree requires no prior knowledge, especially since there are forests full of trees that have been grown without one shovel or pair of gardening gloves. Trees drop their seeds and grow without much help from us out in nature, but planting them in your backyard can be a little different.

Not only do you need to watch out for potential environmental dangers that could hurt your tree, but you also need to make sure your tree isn’t going to bother anything around it as it grows. Today we’re going to teach you how to plant a tree from its pot into the ground.

You might be looking to plant a new Meyer Lemon tree you’ve just purchased which is still in its nursery pot or looking to rehome a plant that has outgrown its pot in your container garden. Either way, you’ll learn exactly what you need to plant your tree from its pot into the ground.

Picking the Right Location to Plant Your Tree

Oftentimes we think about protecting our tree from the outside world, but we don’t always think about protecting the outside world from our tree.

Start off by choosing a spot that is 15 feet away from the nearest building, telephone pole, overhead power lines or any other structure your tree could potentially disrupt as it grows.

It’s also important to think about the amount of sunshine versus shade your tree needs. If your tree will thrive in full sun, it’s best to put it in a spot that gets the most amount of sun throughout the year. Trees that require full sun need a minimum of six hours of sunshine to grow to their full potential. If it enjoys the shade, try to pick a shadier spot.

Another thing you might consider is the soil you’re planting the tree in. If you’re planning on planting your tree in sandy soil when it prefers clay soil, it might not grow as well. Also pay attention to the drainage in your planting spot.

If your backyard is sloped, planting it on the lower part of your yard might mean it’ll get more water than it needs. Trees thrive with optimal soil drainage so make sure your yard doesn’t have any drainage issues in the spot you’d like to plant in.

Digging Your Hole

Now that you’ve found the perfect spot for your tree, it’s time to start digging! In order to dig the right sized hole for your tree, it’s important to be aware of the size of your root ball. The root ball is the main mass of roots at the base of your tree.

You’ll want the hole to be 1.5x the width of the root ball and as deep as the root ball is tall. If you’ve dug your hole too deep, you can simply add some more dirt in the bottom to be sure the top of the root ball aligns with the ground around it. You can measure this by laying a shovel across the ground and your tree and making sure they both touch the shovel’s handle.

Add Water Along the Way

Once you’ve placed your tree in the hole it’s time to start putting the dirt back in. You can use the dirt you just dug up or you can use a soil that contains fertilizer and minerals to help your tree grow even stronger.

Either way, make sure you add water as you add in the soil. The water will help keep any air pockets from forming. Air pockets prevent water from traveling throughout the soil, which means you’ll have an under-watered tree. We recommend adding a layer of soil and then water until you’ve filled up the hole around your tree. 

And that’s it! You’re ready to plant your tree. As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions and happy planting!

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