How to Plant a Large Tree or Shrub

How to Plant a Large Tree or Shrub

Langlands Plan and Plant
  • Remove plants from containers or fabric wrapping (some specimen trees specify that the wrapping be left on under the terms of their guarantee, but normally fabric wrappings should be taken off).
  • Tease out and spread the roots to get an idea of their spread. Dig a planting hole that is no deeper than the roots, but is up to three times the diameter of the root system.
  • If the sides or base of the planting hole are compacted, break the soil up with a fork before planting.
  • With container-grown plants, the top layers of compost should be scraped away, and the point where the roots flare out should be near the soil surface.
  • Add bone meal or rootgrow to the hole, then place the plant in the planting hole.
  • Refill the planting hole carefully, placing soil between and around all the roots to eliminate air pockets.
  • Firm the soil gently, avoiding compacting the soil into a hard mass.
How to Plant a Large Tree or Shrub



Drought stress is common with newly-planted trees and shrubs. Even in a cool, wet summer, the rain rarely replenishes moisture fully. The soil may be dry around the roots even when the surface appears moist. It is possible to detect the dull, lifeless foliage indicative of drought stress, but by then the tree has already been damaged. Ideally, anticipate water loss and irrigate to prevent damage.


Keep the planted area weed-free, as weeds, lawns and other vegetation intercept water before it reaches the roots of newly-planted trees and shrubs.

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