Caring for Your Tree

Follow these simple instructions and your new tree will take off growing like you wouldn't believe! Planting is both quick and easy but should certainly be done with care, as this process is crucial to the health and growth of your tree. After receiving your new tree, you should plant as soon as possible to ensure that your tree stays healthy and hydrated! If for some reason you are unable to plant right away, please make sure to soak the roots of your tree daily until you can.

     The first thing you should do is carefully remove your tree from the box. Please take care not to deeply puncture the box, but rather carefully cut the tape on the outside of the box so the tree is not damaged.

     When you have removed the tree from the box, you will see a green, biodegradable plastic bag covering its roots. Remove this green bag, and you will find the roots are further wrapped in burlap which is also filled with straw. (This straw has a multitude of uses for both the shipping and planting of your new tree, please do not discard this straw until reading further!) This combination of burlap and moist straw around its roots keeps your tree hydrated and insulated from both cold and hot temperatures during shipping.

     You may want to consider taking your tree outside for this next step, because the straw covering the roots could get a little messy when removing the burlap. When you've found a suitable location, lay your tree on the ground and remove the string holding the burlap together. Carefully unwrap the burlap to expose the roots of your tree and shake off any straw that's stuck to the roots.

     The next best thing you can do is submerge the roots of your tree in water for at least an hour. A large bucket or plastic tub should work nicely for this! This step is quite important because your tree will soak up a good deal of water, and should be as hydrated as possible before being planted in its new location!

     While your tree is soaking up water, you can begin preparing it's new home! The ideal growing location for most young trees is somewhere away from other established trees so they don't compete for nutrients, and also a place where they can absorb the most sunshine possible! When you've found perfect spot, you're ready to start digging.

     The straw that covered the roots during shipping is incredibly useful and can be used when planting your tree! If you mix the soil and straw together, the straw acts as a perfectly natural and organic slow-release fertilizer! The straw will naturally decompose when buried in the soil, releasing essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and calcium. As they are slowly released, these nutrients will give the growth of your tree a huge jump-start! 

     It's important to not add artificial fertilizers when planting your new tree. Even fertilizers advertised for new trees can burn the roots and stunt the growth of your new tree. Please consider adding the straw to the soil if you'd like to fertilize right away! Please wait until one month has passed after your tree has started growing leaves in the spring to give your tree any artificial fertilizers.

     The size of your planting hole will always depend on the size of your tree and its roots, so we've developed some guidelines to ensure that your tree thrives in its new home:

  • The planting hole should be deep enough so that the graft union of the your tree is about an inch above the ground. The picture below shows what the graft union looks like and a rough estimate of how deep the tree should be planted!

  •      The planting hole should be wide enough so that you don't have to squeeze the roots to put the tree in the hole. It's good to have the roots touching the sides of the hole, as long as they aren't bent or compressed in any way. If you have to bend or squeeze the roots to get your tree in the ground, the hole needs to be dug out and widened!
  •      The soil at the bottom and sides of the hole should be worked up and loosened with your shovel or digging tool. Even in the winter, your tree will grow small "feeler roots" that help establish itself and prepare to take off in the spring!

      When shoveling the soil back into your planting hole, be sure to gently compact the loose soil as you cover the roots. It's important to compress the dirt so there aren't any air pockets around the roots! After you've replaced all the soil, be sure to give your tree a good watering. Water the ground until you see water standing in the loose soil to ensure sufficient watering.

     Congratulations, you've successfully planted your new tree! Please be sure to keep the soil moist where your tree is planted. You don't need too much water in the ground, just make sure the soil isn't completely dry. Once the weather warms up and your tree starts growing leaves, you'll need to water regularly depending on your climate. Thank you for choosing Online Orchards, and please don't hesitate to contact us with any question!