Tree & Shrub Planting Guide
Updated: Feb 24
Do-it-yourself planting can be a lot of fun, but there are some things you need to know before you start to make sure that your tree or shrub is planted properly.
Know your plant’s sun and water needs, and mature size when you choose a location. Remember to contact www.callbeforeyoudig.org to avoid damaging any underground facilities.
The best times to plant trees and shrubs in Colorado are during the spring and fall months (March 15-June 15 or September 1-October 15). New plantings do best in moderate temperatures.
What You'll Need:
A sharp shovel
Tarp (Using a tarp for your soil pile makes mixing and cleaning up much easier.)
Compost (We recommend Cotton Burr Compost as it helps acidify our alkaline soil. Mushroom Compost is also recommended.)
Root stimulator (We recommend Myke mycorrhizal fungi to be used directly on the root ball, or Fertilome Liquid Root Stimulator added to the water.)
Mulch (Shredded cedar & Gorilla Hair mulch are best for wind resistance.)
Stakes, wire, tree straps, and mallet or post pounder if you can get one. (Staking is only necessary for trees 6 feet and taller)
Soak the area one day before planting for easier digging.
Support plants from the bottom when moving—don’t lift by the trunk.
Lay the plant on its side and wiggle or cut off the container. Loosen circling roots with your fingers.
Measure the depth and width of the root ball.
Dig a hole exactly as deep and three times the width of the root ball. Leave a small mound of soil at the center for stability.
If you’re using Myke, apply to the root ball now.
Set your plant down so that the top of the ball is 1-2” above the original soil level.
Mix original back-fill soil with compost in a blend of one-third compost to two-thirds soil and gently tamp the blend around the roots.
Water slowly and thoroughly with a hose, adding more back-fill if the soil settles.
Surround your new plant with a 2-4” layer of mulch. This will help hold in some moisture. Make sure to leave a few inches clear around the trunk to encourage good airflow.
Trees more than 6 feet tall should be staked, but not for longer than one or two years. Use fabric straps to protect the bark and keep a slight sag in the wires for natural sway.
After the initial watering, new plants need to be watered at least once a week, and in the full heat of the summer, you may need to water more often (2-3 times per week). Proper moisture is key! Too much is just as bad as too little. Regular, deep watering is better than frequent, light watering. If you are not sure whether to water, here is a simple way to check:
Dig into the soil about 8 inches out from the edge of the hole and 8 inches deep. Squeeze the soil in your hand. If the soil crumbles, it is time to water. If it forms a ball, wait to water for a couple more days.
DON’T FORGET TO WINTER WATER! Colorado winters can be very dry, and plants (especially new plants) will need additional moisture. Water once per month if there has not been regular precipitation.
Root stimulator is essential when planting a new tree or shrub. We recommend a mild, balanced fertilizer (such as Espoma Plant-tone) during the first year.
Trees and shrubs can suffer from sunscald in our intense winter sun. We recommend wrapping all newly planted trees during their first winter. Use paper tree wrap around the trunk up to the lower branches. Apply the wrap in late fall and remember to remove it in the spring (early November to mid-March).
Trees | Shrubs | Vines | Perennials | Roses | Grasses
We offer a ONE-YEAR GUARANTEE for these plants. Any of these plants grown in a container VOIDS THE WARRANTY. Bring a sample or a photo of the plant in question, along with the original purchase receipt within one year of the purchase date in order to be eligible for a one-time STORE CREDIT for the amount of the plant purchase price.
*Our guarantee DOES NOT COVER the cost of planting or delivery fees incurred at the time of purchase.
We do offer a 5 Year Extended Warranty for our woody plants. This offer is valid only with a receipt showing the purchase of both the plant material and Myke Tree & Shrub root stimulator. This product must be used at the time of planting for this 5 Year Extended Warranty to be valid.
If you have concerns about the condition of your plant material, please call the Nursery & Garden Center right away. Please, DO NOT dig up plants before contacting us, as this could VOID YOUR WARRANTY. Our goal is to help you grow happy and healthy plants, and we are here to help in any way we can.
If you have any other questions, please contact us! Our goal is to help you grow better, naturally. That being said, we are always happy to help in any way we can!