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RISMEDIA, May 16, 2011—(MCT)—Before planting a tree make sure you know how to do it properly, advise tree experts. The way you plant a tree governs how it grows or dies. For example, girdling roots strangle a tree, and roots planted too deeply suffocate a tree.

Here’s how to correctly plant a tree, courtesy the International Society of Arboriculture and the website

Prepare the Perfect Hole

Dig the hole two to three times the width of the root ball. Do not dig deeper than root ball depth. Make the sides of the hole slant gradually outward.

• For bare root trees, neatly cut away any broken or damaged roots. Soak the roots for a few hours prior to planting to allow them to absorb water.

• Container-grown trees should have the plastic or metal containers completely removed. Carefully cut through any circling roots. Remove the top half of pressed peat/paper containers.

• Balled and Burlapped (“B&B”) trees should have all of the ropes cut. Pull the burlap at least one third of the way down. Slit remaining burlap to encourage root growth. If in a wire basket, cut away the top of the basket.

Plant the Tree

Gently place the tree in the hole. Partially backfill with the soil from the hole, water to settle the soil, then finish back-filling the hole. Tamp the soil gently, but do not step on the root ball.

Planting Pointers

• Remove tags and labels.
• Do not stake unless the tree has a large crown or the planting is situated on a site where wind or people may push the tree over. Stake for a maximum of one year.
• Prune only the damaged branches.
• Soak the soil well, making sure no air pockets form between roots. Wait until next year to fertilize.
• Spread two inches of mulch over the planting area, but do not place it up against the trunk.
• Be sure the root ball has plenty of water throughout the year.

For additional information on planting and other tree care topics, or to find a local ISA Certified Arborist, visit