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Successful Planting

Landscaping Information: Successful Planting

Trees & Shrubs
Planting the Plants

  • Measure the depth and width of the plant’s rootball.
  • Prepare a tapered planting hole of equal depth, but 2 to 3 times wider.
  • Place your plant in the hole in the desired direction. Make sure the top of the rootball is even with the ground. Do not plant too deeply!
  • Combine 1 part EKO compost with 3 parts backfill soil. Never backfill with compost only.
  • Fill the hole halfway with the soil/compost mixture around the rootball, tamp lightly, and soak the rootball with Miracle Gro Quick Start solution.
  • Finish filling hole with soil mixture and water thoroughly.
Drink Up!

Though watering needs vary according to plant varieties, soil types and weather, there are general certainties to keep in mind.

  • Most importantly, observe your plants! Dig down about 6 inches just outside the root zone. If the soil crumbles when you squeeze it, it’s time to water. If the soil forms a ball, wait a few days.
  • When you water, soak the ground thoroughly enough to saturate the root zone. Allow adequate time between watering for proper drainage.
  • Watering properly is essential the first growing season. Following years allow for less watering, but always check the soil and look at the plants!

You may choose to plant a Ball and Burlap tree, which generally has a larger root mass. Planting techniques are similar to potted trees. A few tips:
  • Remove any string or rope tied around the root- ball. This will keep the trunk from being “choked.”
  • Pull down or cut away top 1/3 of burlap.
  • Pull down or cut away top 1/3 of wire basket.
  • Construct a 3” water basin with excess soil at the base of the tree about 3’ in diameter away from trunk.
Healthy & Beautiful
The successful growth of your trees and shrubs is contingent upon the correct planting methods and follow-up care. This guide will help you see your plants become a healthy and beautiful asset to your yard or garden.
Soil tip:    An ancient, organic cure for clay soil is Gypsum. It improves drainage, making your plants happy and healthy!
Boost with Fertilizer

  • Miracle Gro Quick Start is a sufficient fertilizer at planting time. For any other fertilizing, use an all-purpose fertilizer, such as Miracle Gro or Osmocote.
  • General fertilizing is not recommended after August 1st. Fertilizing promotes leaf production. As winter approaches, the plant needs its energy for root production instead.
  • Less is more! Never give your plant more than the recommended dosage. You will burn your plant. Always follow label instructions on fertilizers.


Important for water retention, maintenance of soil temperature, and reduction of weeds, mulching also makes the planted area aesthetically pleasing.

  • Use shredded cottonwood or hardwood mulch around all newly planted trees and shrubs.
  • Mulch should be layered 3”-4” thick, and extended to a 3’ radius.
  • Always leave 3” or 4” between the base or trunk of the plant and the mulch. This allows for air circulation.


New plants do not require pruning, and usually establish quicker if left untrimmed.

  • Always remove any damaged branches, even on newly planted trees and shrubs. Use a sharp pruner to avoid further damage.

On the Straight And Narrow

Contrary to popular belief, staking is not always necessary for newly planted trees.

  • Stake trees that are subjected to extremely high winds
  • Make sure the supports are not rubbing the bark
  • Keep tree staked for one growing season only unless otherwise directed by a Steinbrink’s specialist.

Before planting a tree, consider where it will be planted, then ask yourself:

  • Does the site have adequate drainage?
  • Will my tree block the view of motorists?
  • Will my tree interfere with powerlines?
  • Adjust the site accordingly.
Rules of thumb:

  • Wait 2-3 years before shaping your tree.
  • Most shrubs can be trimmed in March or April after the year it was planted. Consult Steinbrink’s for details.

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