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Balled in Burlap and Container Grown Planting Guide

The following steps are suggested to insure the properly planting of your landscaping plants and forestry plantings.


Plants added to your garden or landscape will grow best when planted in the original or native soil, and in soil that is uniform in structure and texture throughout the plants rooting area. If you decide to amend your soil, it is recomended that you amend the soil of the entire planting area, not just for the planting hole.
To amend large planting areas, place two to four inches of organic over the entire area. Work the organic material well into the soil to a depth of six inches or more. Suggested organic amendments include well aged compost and peat moss. Also, thoroughly mix a well balanced fertilizer into the amended soil. Finely ground bone meal may be added as well. The use of a garden tiller or a rototiller can accomplish this task nicely.
If your soil does not drain well, consider creating a mound by enlarging the planting area for your plants. To accomplish this, re-grade the area or add topsoil so that root ball is above the previous grade. When adding topsoil, work some organic amendments and fertilizer well into the top four to six inches of native soil before planting the plant.


Dig a planting hole that is twice as wide and only as deep as the plant's root ball or contioner. Then loosen the bottom of the planting hole. Then place the plant ball or container to check for the correct depth.


  • Thoroughly water plants before transplanting.
  • Plant when temperatures are mild and the sunlight is not intense.
  • The method of planting depends upon how the root ball was grown.
    Place plants Balled in Burlap in the planting hole with the burlap still intact around the root ball. Remove all strings and twine to prevent girdling of the roots and stem as the plant grows. Pull back the burlap from around the trunk and the top of the root ball. Cut off the loose burlap and fold the burlap below the soil level. It will decompost over time.
    Often the soil of the balled plant is very different in structure and texture than that of the native soil into which it is being planted. If the the different is rather extreme, it is important to expose the plant's roots to the amended native soil by gently loosening the plant's roots on the sides of the root ball.
    Place plants grown in Fiber Pots in the planting hole with the fiber pot still intact. Before placing in planting hole, soak thoroughly the pot. Make several vertical slices into the sides and bottom of the pot to speed the decomposition process of the fiber pot, and allow new roots to grow easily into the surrounding soil. Place the pot into the planting hole and remove the top rim of the pot that will be below the soil level.
    Place plants grown in a Containers in their planting hole, after removing the plant from it's container. Loosen, and spread the plant's outer roots so that they will grow into the native soil.
  • Backfill the planting hole with the amended native soil. It is important that the plant's new roots come in direct contact with the soil of it's new planting hole. Pack the soil lightly into the planting hole is being backfilled, to eliminate air pockets.
  • Create a water basin around the plant to include the outer reaches of the plant's roots. Once the plant is well established, usually in a year or two, the basin may be leveled.
  • Trees and other tall plants will require staking until the root system is well established and the plant can stand alone unaided. This takes typically less than one year. Support the tree with stout stakes which are long enough to reach into the major branches of the tree.
    Do not secure the tree so that it is completely motionless. It is necessary to allow a small amount of movement of the trunk so that the tree will develop a strong, well develped root system. Protect the tree's bark by running the ties from the stake through a piece of plastic tubing or hose at the point where it contacts the trunk.
  • Water the tree throughly after planting.


Newly planted plants benefit from deep watering. How often water is needed will depend upon the time of year, weather conditions, type of plant, and size of plant. To determine whether a plant needs water, carefully probe around the root zone and check the moisture level of the soil. Do not wait for signs of wilting.
During prolonged periods without rain, check the soil moisture. This particularly important dring the first two years after planting.
Plants also need a steady supply of correct nutrients during the growing season. Apply fertilizer according to the recommmended amount and rate that is suggested on the label.

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This page was published March 14, 2002.

This page was last updated March 03, 2018.