Always plant in well-drained soil. To test for soil drainage, dig a hole one foot deep by one foot wide. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain. After it drains, fill it again. Measure the rate of drainage every hour. Ideal drainage is 2 inches per hour with 1-3 inches per hour being acceptable. Inadequate soil drainage can be corrected by incorporating Espoma Soil Perfector. This all natural soil conditioner permanently improves clay and sandy soils, preventing soil compaction and improving root growth.


Trees and shrubs generally come in two forms:

  • Ball and Burlapped (B&B), or
  • Containerized

Both can be planted anytime the ground is not frozen or too wet.

Refrain from planting during excessively hot weather or during severe drought.

Plant your tree or shrub immediately after purchase to maintain plant health. If you can’t plant it right away, place it in a sheltered and/or sheltered location. Keep the root ball moist until planting time.


Dig your planting hole twice as wide and approximately the same depth as the plant’s root mass or container. We recommend mixing Fafard Premium Natural and Organic Compost into the excavated soil, creating a 70/30 soil and compost blend. To ensure a perfect planting environment, add Espoma Bio-tone Starter, a bioactive plant food with beneficial bacteria and humates. If planning to plant your shrub or small tree into an outdoor container, make sure the container is large enough to support your specimen and that it provides ample drainage. We recommend using Fafard Ultra Potting Soil, a rich ready-to-use potting mix for all tree and shrub container plantings.


Place your B&B tree or shrub in the planting hole. Make sure that the depth and position are correct.

Partially backfill the hole with just enough of your 70/30 soil/compost/Bio-tone Starter blend to keep your plant from falling over.

Remove the twine and pull back the burlap without disturbing the root ball. The burlap will decompose in the hole.

Backfill the entire hole, gently firming around the plant as you go, until the soil level is even with the surrounding ground.

It is important that the tree/shrub is planted at the correct depth. Too low and the collar of the plant will suffocate and may not thrive.


Make sure that your plant is thoroughly watered, then carefully remove it from the container.

If the plant roots are growing in a circular fashion inside the pot, gently tease them to encourage them to grow outward into the soil.

If the plant is densely root-bound, it will be necessary to make several shallow cuts, with a sharp knife, along the side and bottom of the root mass to stimulate outward root growth.

Position your tree or shrub in the hole and backfill with your 70/30 soil/compost/Bio-tone Starter mix gently firming around the plant as you go, until the soil level is even with the surrounding ground. Again, be careful not to suffocate the collar of the plant.


Use the excess soil mixture to create a shallow ring around the outer edge of the planting ring to prevent water run-off. Water in your plant. Mulch the planting area with two inches of Hamptons Estate Natural Mulch or Hamptons Estate Black Mulch. This will help retain soil moisture, keep weeds at bay and protect the plant from lawn mowers.  Be certain not to pile the mulch against the trunk or stem of the plant as it can promote disease and attract pests.

On a 60-90 day maintenance schedule, continue to fertilize your tree or shrub with Espoma Plant-tone to insure the health of the plant as it gets established in the landscape. This plant food is an organic and all-purpose premium blend of fertilizer that will continually feed your newly planted tree or shrub.


Water your newly planted trees and shrubs by using a soaker hose or soaker ring inside the planting ring for at least an hour as necessary.

If using a regular hose, make sure it is turned on low allowing for a trickle of water. This slow, deep watering method will promote long, strong, and healthy root development. The roots of newly planted containerized plants dry out faster than the soil around them, so it is important to monitor the soil frequently for one year. Automatic irrigation systems do not adequately water newly planted trees and shrubs so avoid relying on them to properly water your plant.


As soon as you suspect a problem with your tree or shrub, please bring a sample of the problem, along with any photos of the tree or shrub to Heritage Farm and Garden for diagnosis and suggested remedies. We are happy to help with any concerns or problems you may have.


  • Espoma Soil Perfector
  • Espoma Bio-tone Starter
  • Espoma Plant-tone
  • Fafard Premium Natural & Organic Compost Blend
  • Fafard Ultra Potting Mix
  • Hamptons Estate Natural & Black Mulch

Our knowledgeable and friendly staff is available to answer any planting questions you may have.