Depending on what you purchased, your new plants are either balled and burlapped (B&B) or in a container. It’s best to plant your new plants as soon as you can. If you can’t, make sure to keep them in a shady, protected spot and watch their water closely so they don’t dry out. You can plant anytime the ground is not frozen. Make sure the hole you dig is wide and deep enough for your plant. For trees, the hole should be at least 12” wider than the width of the root ball. Planting depth is very important. Remove any excess soil at the top of the root ball or container to find the root flare. This is where the trunk of the tree begins to widen and should not be buried. For shrubs, dig a hole 2-3 times as wide as the root ball or container and the same depth. If the plant has roots circling the container, remember to break them apart. You might need to cut some if there are a lot. When planting B&B plants, once you place it in the hole, put 4 to 5 inches of soil around root ball and pack with your foot or the handle of the spade to stabilize the tree. After it’s stabilized, remove ropes, top half of the wire basket, exposed burlap, and any dirt that is on top of the root flare. (Do not remove the wire basket from under the plant.) Using the soil from the hole, firmly pack more of it in until even with ground level. Form a basin with 2 to 3 inches of soil 4 to 6 inches outside the edge of the planting hole to help make watering easier.
Dig a planting hole as 2-3 times as wide and as deep as the pot it came in. Remove the plant from the container and tease the roots! If the plant’s roots are tightly circling, gently pry them apart and spread out in your planting hole. Fill in the planting hole with soil from the plant’s container mixed with soil from the planting hole, breaking up any large clumps. Lightly firm the soil around the plant making sure to keep the soil level the same as it was in the container.