With the weather finally cooling down and rains around the corner, fall is great tree planting time! And just like kids, young trees need a boost in the right direction to get them set for life. Use the tips below to make sure your new trees survive and flourish!



Use Natural Soil Amendment

Urban soils suck! With construction and traffic, our soils get compacted and depleted of nutrients. But don't reach for that bag of chemical fertilizers just yet! Unless your tree has severe, specific nutrient deficiencies, it's best to mimic Mother Nature with natural, slow-release soil amendments. Adding compost and retaining leaf litter are easy things anyone can do.

Our new tree Thrive treatment combines Biochar, Essential, and Mycopak to improve soil structure and nutrient levels. This includes carbon, amino acids, organic matter, and beneficial fungi, exactly what trees need and are used to in the forest.


Speaking of what trees are used to, they love mulch! Mulch recreates the natural litter on forest floors, feeding both the soil and the tree. Simply apply mulch in layer 2-4" thick out to tree's dripline if possible. Then, sit back and relax as your trees soak in the nutrient-rich goodness.

Irrigate Properly

Improper irrigation is one of the top reasons new trees don't survive. You've gone through all the effort of planting, don't give up now at the final step! New trees need to be watered about 2x a week in the first 3 months, and about 1x a week after that for up to 2 years. Give them 2-3 gal of water each time.


Left: Tree planted too high, roots exposed. Right: Tree planted too low, root flare buried.

Plant Too High or Too Low

Trees rely on soil for support and absorption of water, minerals, and nutrients. So it makes sense that you shouldn't plant trees too high, or with their roots sticking out.

But planting too low is just as bad! Roots need to breathe in oxygen, just like people! Planting low not only suffocates roots, but is also increases chances for decay and disease. To prevent these issues, plant with the root flare and lower trunk above soil level.

Plant Pot Bound Roots

Trees can actually get choked by their own roots! How on earth does this happen? When trees stay in the pot too long, roots start circling because they have nowhere to go. If the tree is planted as is, the roots keep circling around each other and the trunk, eventually choking the tree.

To prevent tree suicide, tease apart circling roots or prune them off if they're too tough. If removing all circling roots would kill the tree, don't buy it or send it back to the nursery.

Staked Too Tightly or For Too Long

Tree stakes help newly planted trees achieve good posture. But when staked too tightly, trees can get weak. Just like us, trees need to move a little to get strong. A tree that is staked too tightly can't sway in the wind, doesn't develop strong roots or strong wood, and is more likely to topple over.

A tree that is staked for too long gets injured when tree ties dig into the growing trunk. This damages bark and can girdle or choke the tree, resulting in tree death. Trees must be re-staked over time to give them growing space, and when they're strong enough, remove stakes entirely.


Left: Tree left with tight nursery stake at planting. Right: Tree stake retained for too long and is girdling the tree.