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Welcome to Maidstone Tree Farm & Garden Centre’s comprehensive guide on tree planting!

Planting a tree is a rewarding experience that benefits the environment, enhances your landscape, and adds beauty to your home.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, our step-by-step instructions and expert tips will help you successfully plant and care for your new tree. Let’s dig in and ensure your tree thrives for years to come.

Tools & Supplies You May Need

Here are some essential tools and supplies you’ll need before planting a tree at home:

  • Spade Shovel: For digging the hole and moving soil.
  • Gardening Gloves: To protect your hands from dirt and potential injuries.
  • Wheelbarrow: For transporting soil, mulch, and the tree.
  • Soil Amendment (e.g., compost or 3-in-1 mix): To improve soil quality and provide nutrients. We can help you at the Garden Centre determine what is best for your tree.
  • Mulch: To retain moisture and suppress weeds around the tree base.
  • Watering Can or Hose: For watering the tree thoroughly after planting.
  • Stakes and Ties: To support the tree and keep it upright while it establishes roots.
  • Pruning Shears: To trim any damaged or broken roots and branches.
  • Measuring Tape: To ensure the hole is the correct size (twice the width of the root ball).
  • Soil pH Tester: To check the soil acidity/alkalinity and adjust if necessary.
  • Root Stimulator or Fertilizer: To encourage healthy root growth (optional but beneficial).
  • Burlap or Old Blanket: To protect the tree’s root ball during transportation if not already potted.
  • Tree Staking Kit: For windy areas on your property, please speak to a Garden Centre associate as staking a tree may not always be necessary.

Your Guide to Digging for Growth

Follow these detailed steps to ensure your plants thrive from the start.


Dig a Hole Twice as Wide as the Root Ball

Why? A wide hole allows the roots to spread out more easily, encouraging healthier growth.

How? Measure the width of the root ball and mark an area twice as wide. Dig to a depth that matches the height of the root ball.

Maidstone’s Tip: Put a layer of loose soil at the bottom of the hole to help with drainage and provide a soft base for the roots to settle.


Place the Root Ball in the Hole

Positioning: Carefully place the root ball into the hole. Ensure the top of the root ball is at ground level.

For clay soil (which is generally what Essex County has), keep the root ball slightly higher to improve drainage. It is important to not let the bottom roots of a new tree sit in a hole with water sitting in the bottom of it.

Maidstone’s Tip: If the root ball is wrapped in burlap, cut away any string or wire and pull back the burlap from the top of the root ball, ensuring it is not left exposed above the soil.


Backfill the Hole with Soil Mixture

Soil Mix: Use a 50-50 mix of native soil and a high-quality planting mix or 3-in-1 mix (a blend of compost, peat, and sand). We carry a number of triple-mix and composted products to help establish healthy roots. Ask one of our Garden Centre associates what’s best for your tree selection at time of purchase.

How? Gradually fill the hole, gently tamping down the soil to eliminate air pockets which can dry out roots.

Maidstone’s Tip: Water lightly as you backfill to help the soil settle and provide moisture to the roots!


Handling Potted or Burlapped Trees

Instructions: For potted trees, remove the pot carefully to avoid damaging the roots. For trees in burlap, cut all strings, remove the burlap from the top, and pull it back a few inches.

Why? Exposing the roots ensures they can spread into the surrounding soil. Leaving the burlap in place at the bottom helps protect the root structure while it establishes.

Maidstone’s Tip: “Everything off the top!” to remind you to remove all materials from the top of the root ball.


Tamp and Water Thoroughly

Tamping: Gently tamp the soil around the root ball to remove air pockets and ensure good root-to-soil contact.

Watering: Water thoroughly with long, deep waterings to help settle the soil and provide initial moisture for the roots.

Maidstone’s Tip: Use a watering wand or a slow-release watering bag to ensure water penetrates deeply.


Mulch and Stake

Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree, but keep it away from the trunk to prevent rot. Ask one of our Garden Centre associates what mulch is best for your tree selection at time of purchase.

Staking: Stake the tree to provide stability, especially in windy areas. Use flexible ties to avoid damaging the trunk.

Why? Mulch helps retain moisture and suppress weeds. Staking supports the tree while its roots establish.

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more information on tree planting, we highly recommend visiting

Tree Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to promoting the planting and nurturing of trees in both urban and rural areas across Canada. They provide a wealth of tree-related education, technical assistance, and resources for communities, corporations, individuals, and other non-profit organizations. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when such a valuable resource is available. Check out Tree Canada for comprehensive guides and expert advice on all things tree-related.

Your Guide to Watering Wisely

Proper watering is crucial when planting a new tree, shrub, or perennial from spring to fall. Adequate water ensures that roots establish well, promoting healthy growth and resilience. Here’s how you can water your new plants effectively to give them the best start.

Consistent Schedule

First Week

Water every other day.

Next Two Months

Water every 2-3 days.

After Two Months

Transition to weekly or bi-weekly watering for a year to establish strong roots.

Water Slowly

Use a soaker hose, drip irrigation, or TreeGator bag to ensure slow, even water distribution deep into the soil. This method prevents water runoff and encourages deep root growth.

Adjust for Conditions

Hot, Dry Weather

Increase the frequency of watering to compensate for increased evaporation and plant stress.

Rainy Periods

Reduce watering to avoid waterlogging and root rot.

Tree-Specific Needs

Adjust watering based on the specific requirements of the tree species, and ensure the soil has good drainage to prevent water from stagnating around the roots.

Additional Resources

Videos on Watering Techniques

For more detailed information on the best ways to water newly planted trees and shrubs, check out these helpful YouTube videos:

These videos provide visual demonstrations and expert tips on how to water your plants effectively, ensuring they receive the right amount of moisture for healthy growth.