- The roots are swelled above the soil level
- Roots are wrapped around the trunk
- Roots are hanging out of the bottom of the container
- Roots are wrapped in circles around the ball of soil
For the best chance of success, choose a plant that is comfortable in its pot. BHG recommends that you don’t use fertilizer or other special soil amendments when first planting the tree or shrub because it discourages the plant from focusing on root growth. After the tree or shrub is securely planted and new stems and foliage appear you can add fertilizer.
The best time to transfer contained plants to your yard is during the fall and spring. Here are some how-to instructions from BHG.
1. Dig a hole as deep as the container with sloped sides (wider at the top).
2. Carefully slide the root ball out of the container.
3. Loosen/untangle any circling or snarled roots. You can cut broken, dead, or hopelessly tangled roots.
4. Set the plant in the empty hole and make sure it is positioned the way you want it to be.
5. The top of the soil ball should be even with the ground or slightly above it.
6. Fill the hole with the plain dirt you originally removed.
7. Pack soil tight around the root ball of the plant.
8. Create a reservoir around the plant by building up soil around the edge of the planting hole.
9. Water the plant thoroughly several times (wait for the water to soak in to the soil and then start watering again).
10. You can add mulch (organic material like wood chips, pine needles, chopped leaves, etc.) around the plant if desired. Pile mulch up 2-3 inches but keep it away from the trunk/stem of the plant.
Check out the BHG website for more tips!