Tree Planting Instructions

Willis Orchard Company offers a variety of plant healthcare products!

Click here for our plant health care products

Receiving Trees

Once you receive your trees, try to plant them as soon as possible. If a few days are needed, take the tree out of the box, leave the root wrap on, and place it in a shady ventilated location. Try not to damage the bark of the tree while handling it, as this may make the tree vulnerable to insects and fungal diseases.

Planting Trees

Dig the hole two to three times as wide as the root system to allow loosened soil for new root growth. Fruit trees and berry plants like well-drained soils so adding 1/3 sand or pea gravel mixed in with the extracted soil is recommended for compact or heavy clay soils. Otherwise, a standard topsoil is good. The hole needs to be deep enough so that the tree is planted at the same depth at which it was grown. Do not bury the trunk. The base of the trunk should be at ground level; on grafted trees, leave the graft knot at the base of the tree one to three inches above the ground. Backfill the hole with the soil mix. Tamp the soil with your foot to remove any large air pockets that may exist. Now build a soil barrier around the circumference of your hole to form a dam that will prevent water from easily running off. Finally, water the tree. Soak it. Adding a two or three-inch layer of mulch around the tree is recommended. For less cold-tolerant trees or in extremely cold winter areas, adding four to six inches of mulch will be beneficial.

Watering Trees

Spring Tree Planting Instructions: Frequent watering is crucial for newly planted trees. Water your tree every other day for the first two weeks. Over the course of a month or two, taper off watering to twice a week as the tree establishes itself. It is very important not to allow the soil to dry out with your newly planted tree. After a few months, the tree will acclimate, and routine watering will not be so critical for its survival. As for how often to water after this point, will depend on the climate, the seasons, and the frequency of rainfall. In most cases, a good soak two or three times a week in the summer months and decreasing to once a week in the colder season should be adequate.

Fall Tree Planting Instructions: Soak the tree at the time of planting, then again once a week for two or three weeks. The trees do not require much water throughout the winter months, therefore, watering every couple of weeks will be adequate until spring. Then increase your frequency to once a week, then twice a week in the summer.

Fertilizing Trees

To maintain a healthy tree, you will want to fertilize your tree in the Spring, Summer, and early Fall. Besides nitrogen, trees must have minor nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper sulfates. A slow-release fertilizer is recommended. Bare root trees should not be fertilized until the year after planting.

Good Fungi for All Trees

Another natural organic additive that will give a powerful health boost to your tree is Mycorrhizal Fungi. This is a naturally occurring fungi that has a symbiotic relationship with most trees and plants growing in native woodlands. Mycorrhizal fungi help plants exchange nutrients and moisture. It is not 100% necessary to make your tree survive but, considering most urban areas are deficient of these beneficial fungi, it would provide an enormous enhancement for your tree's survival, overall health, and growth rate. If you are interested in purchasing fertilizers or Mycorrhizal Fungi for your tree, please give us a call and we can supply you or help you obtain them.

What To Do If You Think Your Tree Is Dead

The Scratch Test: Using your thumbnail or a small knife scratch a small portion off of the bark of the tree. If the tree is still green underneath your tree is still alive and may need more time to produce or leaf out. If it is brown that means your tree could be dead. If this is the case, we will replace your tree within one year of the purchase date. Refer to our Terms and Conditions for more information.

Grafted Grapevine Planting Instructions

Grapevine graft diagram.
  1. Pre-irrigate before planting.
  2. Dig a hole 12-14" deep, place vine in the hole with roots spread out. Fill hole with clean soil & tap down. Pull up slightly on the plant and then tap the soil down again. The graft union should be about 4" above the soil.
  3. Loose soil must be mounded over vine (see diagram). This mound should be about 1" above the tip of the vine so that the vine is not showing.
  4. Irrigate immediately.
  5. When growth begins to show, remove the soil from the vine.

Page last updated: 05/03/2024