Dig, clip, water: Planting trees in spring

Mar 29, 2024, 6:00 AM | Updated: Apr 1, 2024, 2:19 pm

planting trees in a container...

Usually, nursery stock isn't root-bound this time of year, meaning you won't have to cut many roots off. This leads to an easier planting process. Once they're home, though, planting them correctly is crucial. (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY – It’s a great time of year to plant trees, but where do you start? KSL Greenhouse hosts Maria Shilaos and Taun Beddes dig up everything you need to know to get started on planting trees.

Spring is the perfect time to plant trees.

Why? Usually, nursery stock isn’t root-bound this time of year, meaning you won’t have to cut many roots off. This leads to an easier planting process.

Once they’re home, though, planting them correctly is crucial.

Tips for planting trees

Why not dig a deep hole? If the tree is too deep into the ground, lack of oxygen can cause the roots and trunk to rot.

The soil density after digging a hole is less than the surrounding soil, leading to an increased risk of over-watering.

Don’t worry as much about the width of the hole you’re digging but pay close attention to the depth.

There is a saying in the nursery community, “If you’re buying a $300 tree, dig a $300 hole sideways. Not down.”

It’s recommended to monitor soil saturation for the first 60 to 90 days after planting.

Stop before you fill that hole with nutrient-rich compost. The tree can sink down onto that compost, which can also increase its chances of rotting.

Knowing how deep to dig your hole depends on where the graft union is on your tree. You can find this union called “root flare” by looking for a small knot at the base of your tree. This knot should be visible above ground when measuring to dig your hole.

Before removing the wire basket from the base of your tree, carefully lower it into the hole then lean it to one side and clip the wire.

Stakes can help your tree grow in the direction you want it to. You’ll use twine to tie the tree to the stake.

Be sure to put a cotton cloth under the area the twine is tied to in order to decrease wear and tear from the twine on the bark.

Looking to get started planting your own trees? Utah State University Extension has tips for you.

The KSL Greenhouse is on every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. You can follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and on our website.

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Dig, clip, water: Planting trees in spring