Sign In to join the community | Help
Lawn & Garden

Step by step advice on how to plant a Quaking Aspen and Douglas Fir Tree.

Step by step advice on how to plant a Quaking Aspen and Douglas Fir Tree. 

How do I go about planning these trees?  Do I need to break up the root ball and apply fertilizer during the process?  Any step by step directions, I have planted smaller trees before but nothing in the 4-5 feet range.


Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2015-07-06T21:22:54+0000  by jsmithica jsmithica
Hi jsmithica,

Welcome to The Community! We're glad to hear from you.

Planting trees is always the same process no matter the size. The bigger the tree is, however, the larger the hole needs to be.

The stress of transplanting is greater during the hot months, so summer transplanting is not recommended. The optimum time is in the fall, a few weeks before the ground freezes. Evergreens don't mind the cold, and deciduous trees are dormant for the winter.

Select a location that will support the tree's mature size. The Aspen will reach 40 to 80 feet in height and will need adequate space for the root system that supports it to develop. Large, spreading tree roots can become invasive.

Douglass Fir grow their roots deeper and they have dense growth that can easily be shaped into the familiar Christmas tree shape. Douglass firs are among the oldest and largest trees in the world, but they are relatively slow growers. It will take many human lifetimes to achieve their mature height of 300+ ft.

Begin by digging the hole twice as wide as the root ball of the new tree. The depth of the hole should be the same as the depth of the root ball.

If your soil is of poor texture, now is the time to amend it. Adding compost to your soil at a rate of up to 30% soil conditioner to 70% native soil will improve the condition of the soil. Mix the amendment with the soil that was removed from the hole on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow.

If the tree is in a container, remove the pot and lay the tree on its side. Roll the tree while you massage the root to loosen the soil around and beneath the roots. This will promote quicker root spread and avoids the stress of transplanting.

If the root ball is wrapped in burlap, unpin the fabric and allow the tree to rest on the burlap. If the ball is compacted, loosen the soil with a digging or cultivating fork to break up the ball without harming the roots. The tree can be moved into the hole by lifting it in this burlap and placing the tree in it. Natural burlap can remain in the hole after planting if so desired. It will decompose naturally. Be sure that the fabric is loose and no longer bound around the ball.

Add the amended soil mixture back into the hole after the tree is positioned. Tamp the soil several times with the shovel handle during this process. This will eliminate air pockets in the soil so that the tree settles better.

When the hole is filled, the top of the root ball should be at the top of the soil level. Soil should not come up onto the trunk of the tree. Water the newly planted tree and add soil if any settling occurs.

Fertilizer can now be added. Applying fertilizer on top of the soil ensures proper uptake of the nutrients as the food passed down through the roots. Fertilizer that has been added to the bottom of the hole is often unavailable to the tree. Tree and Shrub Fertilizer is food that is complete with minor nutrients and is slowly released for proper feeding. Apply it in the fall and in the spring.

Apply mulch to the area to help retain moisture and to insulate the roots. Stake the trees with Tree Stake Kits to support the tree for the next two years. This will allow the roots to take hold.

Be sure to remove the stake kit after two years.

Thank you for joining our forum. Hit us back with your progress.


Posted 2015-07-07T16:46:29+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question