Planting for Healthy Root Development


If you are thinking about planting a tree, here are some key points of our trusted process:

  1. We have decades of research to help select the correct tree for the location. Keeping in mind: soil conditions, drainage, sun, shade, and wind exposure. Additionally, we evaluate how much space we have to work with. We want ornamental trees at a minimum 15 feet from any structure. Any shade or evergreen green should be a minimum of 20 feet away. These all are important considerations in the placement and selection of the tree.

  2. Before we even start to dig the hole, we call OUPS—or “Call Before you Dig 411!” No one wants to cut your cable line, especially if you work from home. 😊

  3. We work to dig a hole that is one and half times the size of the root ball. This gives space to add soil and compost to allow for better root development. If the hole is too small, the roots will not grow outward, but more in a circle and ultimately can cause girdling roots. Not good.

  4. We find the actual trunk flare of the tree. Sometimes in the nursery during digging, some additional soil can get built up on the trunk. Often times we need to take a couple inches off the top of the root ball, and, we don’t want to plant trees too high where soil has to be built up around the root ball, creating that volcano effect we hate to see. In contrast, planting the tree too low can cause it to hold and retain too much water.

  5. In the pictures below, you can see two things. > First, there has been too much mulch added to the trees. > Professional arborists can use an Air Spade to carefully remove and expose the top of the root ball—looking for the trunk flare, clearing off any additional soil that has been built up.

Ultimately these steps improve the vitality of the tree, and ensure a tree is not being suffocated by the buildup of dirt and mulch. These processes also encourage the root development to grow into the ground, and NOT in any soft material built up around the trunk.


Watch M.J.’s YouTube video on our proper process.

We are here to help with your questions!

(Or we can just plant for you. ;)


Joel John tree planting

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