How to Plant a Tree

Tools Checklist

  • Shovel
  • Soil Conditioner
  • Bio-tone Organic Root Stimulator
  • Pruners or a Knife
  • Garden Hose
  • Mulch

5 Steps for Planting Trees & Shrubs


Dig a hole twice as wide as your root ball. Make sure to dig deep enough so the root ball sticks up about 2″ above finished grade. For balled and burlapped trees and shrubs, pull the burlap back from the top of the root ball but do not remove it. Always remove any rope around the trunk.


Mix the native soil removed from the hole with soil conditioner and Bio-tone starter according to the directions on the package. Set the mixture aside.


Remove tree from the container and gently pull the roots away from the root ball. After centering the tree in the hole, back-fill with the amended soil mixture. Do not compact the soil; tamp it down gently to remove any air pockets.


Deeply water your newly planted tree or shrub with a hose. Do not rely on irrigation systems, which are only designed to penetrate the top two inches of soil. Water thoroughly until the soil is saturated. In the first few months after planting, make sure to water deeply so the roots are drenched. During the first year, we recommend watering 2 – 3 times a week with 3 – 5 gallons of water each time.


Mulching is a vital step for a healthy tree installation. Mulch regulates temperatures, maintains moisture in the soil, and prevents weeds. Apply at least three inches of mulch around the base of the tree but do not extend mulch up the trunk. Leave several inches of space between the tree trunk and the ring of mulch.

Do we recommend staking trees?

We typically do not recommend staking trees. Only stake up a tree if its exposed to wind, grazing animals, or some other external threat that may uproot or tilt the tree. Stakes should be regularly examined and removed when the tree is stable enough to stand straight on its own. Never leave stakes on a tree for more than one year.

Find all the tools you need and pick out plants at one of our garden centers. Cross Creek offers delivery and installation of trees and shrubs all year round! Visit our installation page for more details.