5 Tips for Proper Tree and Shrub Planting

5 Tips for Proper Tree and Shrub Planting

Fall is the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs. As the weather cools down and the soil temperature drops, these plants have the best chance of establishing themselves and thriving in your garden. But how do you ensure that you plant them properly for optimal growth? In this article, we’ll share some expert tips on tree and shrub planting from our friend and fellow garden writer, Lee Reich. So grab your spade and get ready to transform your garden with our juiciest secrets!

The Benefits of Fall Planting

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## Why do we prefer fall planting over spring planting?

Spring may be the most popular time for planting, but fall has its advantages, especially when it comes to trees and shrubs. One major benefit is that the soil temperature is still warm enough for root growth, even as the air temperature begins to drop. This allows the plants to establish their root systems before winter, giving them a head start for the following growing season. Additionally, the cooler weather and more consistent rainfall in the fall reduce the stress on newly planted trees and shrubs, making it easier for them to establish themselves.

Planting Techniques for Success

## Debunking Planting Myths

There are a few myths surrounding tree and shrub planting that we’d like to debunk. One common misconception is that you should dig a hole significantly larger than the root ball of the plant. However, research has shown that a hole only twice the width of the root ball is sufficient. Planting the tree or shrub at the same level it was in the nursery or pot is also crucial. Planting too deep can cause the plant to rot, while planting too shallow can lead to root suffocation. So, remember, when it comes to planting holes, bigger isn’t always better!

## Backfilling with Native Soil

Another myth we’d like to dispel is the idea of improving the soil in the planting hole with additives like compost or peat moss. While it may seem like a good idea to give your new plant the best possible start, adding too many amendments to the planting hole can actually hinder root growth. It creates a stark contrast between the soil in the hole and the surrounding soil, leading to a perched water table that can impede drainage. Instead, use the soil you removed from the hole to backfill, allowing the plant’s roots to gradually acclimate to the surrounding soil.

## The Power of Mulch

Mulch is a gardener’s best friend, especially when it comes to fall planting. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of your newly planted tree or shrub helps regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and suppress weed growth. It also provides a protective barrier against freezing and thawing, preventing plants from heaving out of the ground during the winter months. However, be cautious not to pile the mulch directly against the trunk or stems of your plants, as this can create a haven for rodents and lead to damage.

Wrangling Weeds

## Weed Removal Strategies

Weeds can be a constant battle in any garden, even for experienced gardeners like Lee Reich. One particularly troublesome weed he’s currently battling is hog peanut and groundnut. While these plants have their merits and are somewhat edible, they can quickly take over flower beds and compete with your desired plants for nutrients and space. Lee is considering digging up the entire area to eradicate them completely. This extreme measure may be necessary for persistent and invasive weeds, especially in perennial beds where weeding can be challenging.

## Taking a Fallow Period

If you’re struggling to control invasive weeds in your garden, sometimes the best solution is to take a fallow period. This involves clearing the area and allowing it to rest without any plants for a season or more. By depriving the weeds of their food source and preventing them from spreading further, you can gradually regain control of your garden. During this time, you can closely monitor any new weed growth and take necessary measures to prevent their return. Remember, maintaining a weed-free garden requires patience and persistence!


Proper planting techniques are crucial for the success of your trees and shrubs. By following these expert tips from Lee Reich, you can ensure that your plants have the best possible start in your garden. From debunking planting myths to using native soil for backfilling and applying mulch for insulation, these techniques will help your plants thrive. And if you’re dealing with stubborn weeds, don’t be afraid to take drastic measures like digging up the affected area or implementing a fallow period. With a little bit of effort and the right strategies, you can create a beautiful and healthy garden that will flourish for years to come.

Ready to get started on your fall planting journey? Visit Tips Tree Planting for more expert advice and resources to help you transform your garden into a lush paradise. Happy planting!

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