Gently slice any circling roots.
Step 5: Prepare Trees and Shrubs for Planting
- Remove Container: Gently lay the plant on its side and remove the container. Be very careful not to break any stems or to yank too hard on any part of the plant. If it’s stuck, you may need to squeeze or pound the container a little to work it loose, or cut the container into pieces.
- Loosen Roots: Use a sharp, sterile knife to gently cut any roots that are circling or matted. Circling roots have a tendency to keep growing in a circle instead of branching out.
- Keep Root Ball Intact: Don’t loosen or break apart the root ball itself! The idea is to keep the root ball intact, with some careful slices to encourage branching.
- Position Plant in Hole: Place each tree or shrub in the planting hole, then stand back and take a close look. Make sure the plant is straight, at the correct spacing and depth, and turned the direction you prefer it to face.