Planting and installation of trees and shrubs

commercial planting

The Plant

In selecting shrubs and trees, one must be knowledgeable on the potential of various shrubs to bear various conditions.

The site

The circumstances around the planting site are as important as the plant itself. A lot of factors must be considered (e.g. soil type and drainage, exposure to parching winds). If the site and the plant harmonized each other, the survivability, performance, and longevity of the plant selected will increase.

The first step in evaluating the condition of the planting site is to probe the soil. Scrutinize its ability to raise a plant. Check its physical distinctiveness and aptitude (sandy, well drained, moist, contains organic material). Soil with great variety is often produced by construction practices such as cutting and filling, installation of underground utilities and backfilling against the foundation. This inconsistency can change considerably with profundity and planting between locations on the same property.

Soil texture and drainage are correlated. Sandy soils are very well-drained because of its large pore spaces and feeble water-holding capabilities. They are usually linked with the dry environment. On the other hand, clayey soils have much smaller pore spaces, are poorly drained and can restrain plant roots. The pore spaces in soil are very significant to plant growth because the oxygen that occupies them is essential to strong roots. A tree planted in the poorly sapped soil will be slow to grow, weak, and will slowly die.
In order for the roots to grow, moisture and oxygen are needed; soil drainage should be checked before planting. If one is not present in the soil, it prevents proper development of roots and growth of beneficial soil microorganism that are responsible for decaying organic matter and discharging plant nutrients.

To test for soil drainage, dig a hole 18 inches deep, fill it with water, and let it stand overnight. If the water has not drained by morning, there is a drainage problem. (Do not test the drainage in this manner after heavy rainfall or before the ground has thawed in the spring.)

If the soil drainage is inadequate, shrubs that can grow in poorly drained soils can be planted or soil drainage may be enhanced. If a compacted, impermeable layer of soil with an underlying layer of well-drained soil, a hole can be dug down to the permeable layer to provide drainage for the planting hole. If the soil is poorly drained and there is no well-drained layer below, a tile system can be placed. However, this tile system is expensive and it requires assistance from a professional for proper design. Adding gravel to the bottom of the planting hole will further reduce oxygen availability to the root system.

Vehicles and people can reduce pore space and limit water penetration by compaction of soil. It can also cause physical damage to roots of existing trees. In compacted soil, oxygen is used up, carbon dioxide builds up, and root penetration is decreased. These circumstances are harmful to the root growth. Ventilating the soil is one of the solutions to the problem.

The measure of alkalinity and acidity of the soil is Soil pH. If the soil has a pH below 7 it is an indication that the soil is an acid soil while if the soil has a pH above 7 this would indicate that the soil is an alkaline soil. A pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is an ideal pH for most of the trees. Calcium carbonate or lime raised the soil pH. Green ash, white ash, amur cork tree, ginkgo, hackberry, honeylocust and Russian Olive are plants tolerant with pH greater than 7.0 but less than 8.0. Evergreens perform best in slightly acidic conditions. Some plants like arborvitae, ponderosa pine, and Colorado blue spruce can tolerate a wider pH range (6.5-7.3). A soil test should be conducted to determine possible pH problems before a plant is planted in a site.


The amount of water given is essential for the plants. For low areas where water may be standing or very close to the surface, or where a heavy clay soil exists, trees and shrubs that can tolerate excessive moisture are suited for this place such as green ash, river birch, hackberry, bicolor oak, red maple, and Russian olive. For sandy soils, drought tolerant tree like amur maple, barberry, caragana, honeysuckle, buckthorn, sumac, alpine currant, elderberry, buffaloberry, spirea, and lilac can withstand extended periods with a little water.


Most of the sun requires full sun to maintain their strength and attain their full potential. On the other hand, some plants can tolerate low light such as green ash, white ash, river birch, ironwood, Kentucky coffeetree, American linden, Norway maple, hackberry, red maple, and sugar maple.


The location of the planting site in relation to other trees and objects such as buildings, fences, etc. will have the great impact on the temperature and moisture condition of the surroundings.


When transporting plants from the nursery, one should use a proper vehicle, a truck or a trailer to reduce the possibility of injury from loading and unloading. Wrapping and covering the leaves and needles of the plants from the sun will protect it while transiting. Stems and branches should be cushioned to keep it from an injury. Tie the plants down and avoid high-speed travel. The lesser the damage the more expensive the plants’ cost is.

Methods of making marketing trees and shrubs

  • Bare Roots – Keep the roots moist and keep away from the sun and the wind when handling or transporting bare root stock.
  • Packaged -Keep the packing material moist and the package cool and shaded until planted.
  • Field-potted – These plants should be sold and planted during spring as the field soil will not produce a good growth for the plants in a container. The root ball is disturbed as little as possible during the digging and planting process.
  • Containerized – Roots must be set up in the container and hold the media together before transplanting. Do not completely break up the root ball at planting time, but do cut any circling roots prior to planting. The tighter the root ball, the more the root system should be distressed.
  • Container grew – container grown plants have deformed root system because they have grown in their containers through most of its production. The root ball of these plants should be cut open to remove girdling roots.
  • Balled and bur lapped (B & B) – when transporting B&B, one should lift it from beneath the ball, never by the stem. If B&B stock will be handled and planted properly, this stock will be as reliable as the container grown stock.
  • Tree spade – Tree spade is a machine that digs a mass of soil including the plants and the roots. An experienced operator can make big difference between a success and a failure. Similar soil from the digging site and the planting site should also be considered.


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