Preparing the Tree Hole

One of the first things to consider when you decide to start planting trees in your yard is that there are several types of soil that help or hinder the growth of the tree that you plant.

In some regions in California, the soil is so hard that it will break rototiller blades and therefore needs to be thoroughly soaked before being excavated. In fact, several families in San Diego have hired excavators to dig large holes and fill them back in with soil mixtures that will support both plants and trees so that they can successfully garden.

Chances are that your soil will not need special excavation in order to create a hole deep enough to plant a tree successfully.

You will, however, want to look at the best soil combinations for the particular tree that you are planting before you get started. Going online and looking at the type of soil that the varietal that you are working with will help you to figure out specifically what type of potting or planting soil to purchase. In most cases, you can use standard planting soil.

When it comes to fertilizer, some people choose to use it and others opt not to. If you have a yard that is verdant and has had quite a bit of vegetation that grows without any help, you will probably retain nutrients in the soil from the natural decomposition of plants to help your tree grow. If, on the other hand, your yard has a lot of clay soil, it is a good idea to look into purchasing some manure or liquid fertilizer in order to add some nutrients to the mix. In most cases, you will not want to add much fertilizer to the soil mix that you create initially. But as there are plenty of recipes available online that are specific to the type of tree that you are planting, you can always find a recipe that deals with your specific soil type and tree.

Now that you have determined which ingredients you will be using to create the soil mix that surrounds your tree, you will want to start looking at preparing the ground and the hole that will receive the tree.

Some experts will tell you that the tools that you use should be planned carefully in advance. It isn’t ever a good experience to start digging and end up with blisters on your hands a half an hour later. Instead, get a good pair of gloves that can handle moisture well and add tools that fit your size. The shovels that you use should have handles that at least come up to your chest so that you can leverage them to chop and mix the soil as you dig without harming your back.

The hole area that you plan for your tree should be at least twice as wide as the root structure of a tree that has been potted or bagged and at least 1.5 times as deep.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when they are planting trees is that they manage to create a hole that is wide enough, but then they have trouble with digging through the soil to a depth that is satisfactory. They therefore often barely clear the roots of the tree in its original form and it causes problems with growth because the tree roots at the bottom remain bunched up. The key is to look at the variety of tree that you are planting and pull a couple of roots away from the ball once you think you have finished digging your hole.

You can then determine how long the roots will unfold naturally and adjust your hole to compensate.

After your hole is dug and you are confident that the tree will fit into it properly, you will want to make the next portion of the process quite brief because the tree and its roots may already be somewhat exposed. Take the ground that you have excavated and chop it up so that it is fine dirt if you haven’t already. Then blend the planting soil and any fertilizer that you plan to use until the mix appears to be even all over.

You are now ready to plant the tree and can use the pile of soil to stage underneath and around the tree once you seat it in the hole.