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Planting Tips for B&B Trees

"They're big. They're heavy. But to plant one in the yard? It would look amazing! It would give us the shade tree we've been wanting. How do you plant a tree with a root ball that looks.... like that? What do you do with the burlap?..."

These might be some of the questions you have initially about planting a B&B tree (or maybe it was just me before my husband and I planted one a few years back now!). Planting a tree this size is awesome, because, well, you know, it's already grown from a sapling and is actually an established tree! Read below for tips to plant these big guys! And then stop by the Nursery, because most of our B&B (which just stands for 'ball and burlap') trees are now on sale (I promise, you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal on trees)!!

FAQ #1: What are some tips to prepare the planting hole for a B&B tree?

*It is super important to keep the root ball well watered until you are ready to plant the tree. I know, this seems so obvious, but these root balls need a good amount of water, so it is worth it for me to re-iterate it!

*Expose the trunk flare (sometimes there is a piece of cloth/felt covering it- see pic below). Remove burlap just from the immediate trunk area of the tree. DO NOT REMOVE ALL THE BURLAP ON THE ROOT BALL.

*Dig the space at least 3 times the width of the root ball. For depth, you should measure the height from the trunk flare (see pic below!) to the bottom of the root ball. This will be the depth of the hole you're digging.

*Break up the soil at the bottom of the hole. Do not amend soil unless planting in heavy clay or poor soil. If amendments are needed, use soil conditioner, mushroom compost or composted cow manure (ask us at the Nursery if you are unsure of what you need/if your soil needs any amending).

FAQ #2: How do you go about planting a B&B tree?

*Once you have prepared your planting hole, carefully lift the tree into the planting space by the root ball, not the trunk (that root ball is too heavy for you to rely on the trunk to support it while moving!). Balance the tree upright in the center of the hole and make sure it is turned the way you want it to be (i.e. pretty side facing the road, or where you can see a certain side best from your window, etc.).

*For trees in wire baskets, AFTER the tree is in the hole, loosen the wire and burlap and fold down to expose the upper half of the root ball. Do not remove soil from the root ball.

*Prune dead or crushed roots if there are any to be trimmed. Straighten out roots so they go into the ground; we all want deep roots!

*Begin refilling with soil, watering as you fill to firmly set the tree. Gently tamp the loose soil.

*Prune only dead or injured branches.

*Mulch lightly and evenly at 3" deep. Do not fertilize at planting time.

A Few Last Tips:

*Be careful not to plant too deep! Trunk flare and top of root ball should be at or slightly above grade.

*Water every few days when we are not getting adequate rainfall- this is critical to the health of the tree! You will need to water deeply every few days during the first year it is planted. Allow water to run slowly, soaking the soil, once or twice a week. You want to water deeply to encourage deep and strong root growth. Be careful not to overwater.

*Keep weed eaters and other trimmers with strings away from the tree to avoid wounding the base trunk.

*Never fertilize newly planted or stressed trees. Ask us at the Nursery about your specific situation for assistance on when to fertilize your tree.

*Continue to water during dry periods for 2-3 years after planting and whenever severe drought conditions exist.

*Enjoy your new tree!

As I mentioned above, my husband and I planted a B&B 'Forest Pansy' Redbud years ago that we absolutely love. B&Bs are definitely worth the effort put into planting them!

What questions do you have for us today about B&B trees? We love to hear from you- give us a call at the garden center and we will be happy to assist you!

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