Quick Start Guide
Dig A Hole
3 Gallon Plants: Dig 24" wide x 9" deep
1 Gallon Plants: Dig 12" wide x 7" deep
Add Compost (Optional)
3 Gallon Plants: Add 1 shovel of compost and mix in
1 Gallon Plants: Add one-half shovel of compost and mix in
Place plant gently in the hole, green side up
Fill the hole with soil
Spread a 2" layer of mulch around the plant
Complete Beginner's Guide
- Pick a great home for your plant. Double check our plant description to make sure the spot you've chosen has the right amount of sunlight, space to grow, soil moisture, etc. If you'd like a little extra help with this, read Right Plant - Right Place: Tips for Low-Maintenance Gardening.
- Dig the hole. This will be easier than you think! While the hole needs to be wide, it doesn't need to be deep. Dig the hole 12" wider than the rootball for shrubs and 18" wider for trees. Dig deep enough so that 1/8th of the rootball will sit above ground. For easy clean-up, place a tarp on the ground and put the dirt coming out of the hole on the tarp. Remove any large rocks, roots or debris from the soil as you go.
- Mix in some compost. A little organic matter will help to give the roots a good start. Mix whatever is on hand - compost, manure (not fresh), grass clippings, rotted leaves - into the dirt on the tarp.
- Gently remove the plant from the pot and loosen the roots. This will be a snap if you water the plant a few hours before planting. If not, you can set the pot on its side and lightly tap it with the shovel. (Like tapping the lid of a jar.) Handle the plant by the root ball, not by the trunk or branches. If there are a lot of roots circling the dirt or matted at the bottom of the root ball, loosen them so that they hang more freely. It sounds scary, but you can use scissors, pruners or the side of the shovel to cut roots that are too tightly wound for you to loosen with your fingers. Don't worry - you won't hurt the plant. The idea here is to gently loosen the roots a bit so that they spread out into the soil faster.
- Now place or gently roll the root ball into the hole, being careful not to drop the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be at ground level or slightly above. If the top of root ball is lower than ground level, add more soil to the bottom of the hole to elevate the root ball.
- Almost there. Position the plant in the hole and start filling the hole with the dirt on the tarp, keeping the plant standing straight. Tamp down the soil with your hand, foot or shovel. Add a little more soil if necessary. Pull away any dirt that is piled up against the trunk or stems.
- Spread 2-3" of organic mulch on top of the dirt. It is best to use shredded hardwood mulch. Make a saucer around the trunk to be sure the mulch is not touching the bark. Mulching is a super-important key to happy, thriving plants. Learn more about mulch here.
- To stake a tree: Hammer a stake into the ground about 6" beyond the edge of the hole. Attach biodegradable rope tightly around the stake and loosely around the trunk. Remove the stakes in 6 months or in 12 months if the location is windy.
- Water thoroughly right away. How much water and when you water depends on how big the plant is and what time of year it is. Regardless, it is important to water slowly and deeply to make sure the water moistens the whole root ball. Tips for Watering.