Planting a tree doesn't have to be intimidating. It can actually be quite simple and enjoyable. By following these steps you will increase your tree's opportunity to grow and thrive. To help you get started, watch the full video (in French only).
Before you begin, it is important to always move the tree with care. It is better to move the tree by lifting the pot (rather than the rod or trunk). This is particularly true for fruit trees since they are often grown using grafting techniques and are therefore more fragile.
Dig a hole as deep as the tree's container. The hole should be at least twice as wide as the tree's container. The hole walls may be inclined.
Gently remove the container (it is best to cut the container if it is difficult to remove). If the root system is well developed (the roots have grown along the walls of the container, a phenomenon called spiralisation), we recommend making a few cuts in the roots to stop the spiraling. This will help the tree establish its roots deeper into the soil.
Rub a generous handful of mycorrhizae directly on the root ball of the tree. Stand above the hole so that any excess mycorrhizae falls to the bottom of the hole.
Place the tree in the hole, making sure that the base of the trunk reaches the same height as the surface of the ground. Once the tree is in place, the trunk should be straight and the branches should be well positioned (ie clear to grow without interfering with anything).
One shovelful at a time, refill the tree's hole using the dirt that you had previously removed to create the hole. Between each shovelful , lightly pat down the fresh earth with your hands or feet to remove any air pockets.
When filling the hole you must make sure to not to cover the base of the tree's trunk (for a regular tree) or the rootstock (for a fruit tree). In both cases, these structures form a visible bulge at the base of the tree trunk.
With the remaining dirt, form a circular ridge to create a bowl around the width of the hole. This ridge will act to help direct water to the roots of the tree.
Cover the inside of the bowl with a layer of organic mulch. Mulch helps to retain soil moisture and when it decomposes, it provides nutrients to the tree. It is recommended to apply a new layer of mulch each year.
Immediately after planting, water the tree. Fill the bowl with water and allow the water to enter the soil. Slow deep waterings are ideal for newly planted trees as this assists the tree establish its roots deep into the soil.
It is recommended to install a supporting stake, particularly if the tree is in a windy place. Position the support to the south side of the trunk and secure it to the trunk. You can buy a supporting device at your local garden center. Remove the support after the first or second winter.
Some species of fruit trees thrive best in well-draining soil. The dominant soil type in Montreal is clayey which tends to drain poorly. It is often recommended to mix sand into the existing soil prior to planting to improve drainage. For specific details on fruit tree varieties please see the tree's specific page.
It is advisable to protect the young trunk against rodents. You can use a white plastic spiral or other devices sold at your local garden center. Install the device in the winter only. Remove for the spring.
Water regularly and generously during the first two years after planting , especially during periods of drought. Allow the surface of the earth to dry between waterings.