How To Plant Container Grown Trees and Shrubs


Make sure the root ball isn’t too deep.

Step 6: Fill Holes Around Trees and Shrubs

  • Add Dirt to Holes: Backfill the dirt around the plants in stages, taking time to tamp down each layer.
  • Add Soil Amendments: Incorporate a few shovelfuls of soil conditioner and a sprinkling of bone meal in with the soil. Don’t overdo it, as plants grow best when the surrounding soil is similar to the landscape soil.
  • Fill Holes: When backfilling the holes, don’t pile dirt on top of the root ball. Instead, keep it the same depth, or slightly shallower, than it was in the pot.
  • Mound Soil: Use extra soil to make a small donut-shaped mound around your plant, to help hold water. If your plants are on a slope, you can also use excess soil to make a small barrier to slow runoff.

Planting Tip

Most gardeners like to overdo it to make sure plants have the richest growing environment. But if you dig a hole in poor or compacted earth and plant your tree or shrub in a small pocket of rich potting soil, it will behave as though it’s growing in a pot and won’t spread out or thrive. If your soil is in really bad condition, you’re better off tilling and improving the whole area before planting.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Pat, in the demonstration photos, I am planting ‘Otto Luyken’ English laurels. They are gorgeous evergreen shrubs, one of my favorite choices for foundation plantings! In Step 1 there is an azalea (the lighter green shrub) to the left of the Otto Luykens. The photo in Step 9 features a blooming crape myrtle.

  2. Hi, looking for perfect unity planting tree for my daughter to plant at her wedding, possibly tree will live in a container for a couple of years and then be planted in the couples yard later. Tree is a symbol of longlasting love with proper nourishment for longetivity and will be memorable of beginning their life together. They will live in Atlanta Ga. for a while.
    Please help!

  3. I have just been given an Azalea. I have clay soil & a with a south facing garden. As I understand they like acid soil was wondering whether to grow it in a tub. So was looking for some advice!

  4. Was wondering if it is to late to plant shrubs in Denver Colorado, we are supposed to have a good 3 weeks left of 70 degree weather. If so what are good shrubs for a clay type soil in the fall?

  5. we would like shrubs 3-5 ft tall and 2-3 feet wide anyone got any specific names? for low maintenance fall planting clay soil?

  6. I have a azalea small tree in pot can I plant outside & leave it outside during winter months so it will bloom again in spring plants flowers all gone

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