Meet with our ISA Certified Arborists

Planting Methods

Review how to dig, plant, and mulch a tree to maximize survival and
minimize planting stressors.

Planting Tips

  1. Dig a hole with a diameter 2-3 times the size of the root ball diameter to loosen surrounding soil.
  2. Don’t loosen soil at the bottom of the hole, as that may cause the root ball to settle and be planted too deep.
  3. Place the tree in the hole that was dug, so that the top of the root flare is 1-3″ higher than the existing grade.
  4. Remove any containers, wraps, ropes, and straps from the base of the trunk. If a balled burlap tree is being planted, remove 1/3-2/3 of the wire basket and burlap wrapping.

Proper Mulching

This is valuable to the health of your tree because it:

  1. Insulates the soil.
  2. Retains water keeping the roots moist.
  3. Keeps weeds out to prevent competition.
  4. Prevents soil compaction.
  5. Reduces lawn mower damage.

Improper Mulch

Root flare buried & Mulch piled high up against the trunk.

Mounding, known as “volcano mulching” is detrimental.

Proper Mulch

Root flare visible at the base of the tree & Mulch extends to dripline of canopy.

Mulching Strategies

Volcano mulching your tree is a detriment to its health because it puts a constricting layer of mulch buried up around the flare and trunk.

  1. Mulch should be about 2″ – 4” deep.
  2. Modify at least 12” beyond the root ball for newly planted trees.
  3. Keep mulch 3″ – 6” away from the trunks of mature trees. In wet or poorly drained sites avoid fine textured mulches, use coarse textured mulches or none at all.
  4. Modify out to the drip-line of mature trees.

Stone Borders


  1. We recommend not placing stone borders around your trees. It can prevent roots from growing correctly.
  2. Not to be used as a planting bed.
  3. The stone can retain heat and detour water from getting to the roots.
  4. Stone borders can also limit O2 and CO2 exchange between soil and air.

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