Adding More Bark to Your Backyard in Seven Easy Steps

Thursday, July 23, 2020 16:27:00 PM America/Los_Angeles

Do you have any outdoor hobbies? Some people enjoy fishing, others enjoy bird watching- but at Bark Potty, we love gardening! Tree planting is the name of the game! Our relationship with 1% for the Planet allows us to donate 1% of every sale to One Tree Planted, an environmental charity that plants trees. While this is fantastic, we really love getting our hands dirty to help the environment, too! Here’s how you can start planting trees of your very own.

It’s important to note that easily plantable trees can come in a few different forms- seedlings, saplings, and young trees. In today’s article, we’re going to focus on the latter. Before we begin, remember that it’s best to plant trees in the autumn or early spring, so keep that in mind when looking at your calendar.

What you’ll need:

-A shovel (we recommend a large one)

-Gardening gloves


-A young tree


-A hand shovel

Step 1: Find the perfect place

Make sure that your tree has plenty of space to grow so that it doesn’t uproot your vegetable garden, disrupt any underground utilities, or destroy your home’s foundations down the road. 

Photo by George Bakos

Step 2: Dig the hole

Inspect the size of the container your tree is currently in and locate the trunk flare. You should dig your hole 2-3 times the width of your potted tree’s roots, but no deeper than the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the trunk expands at the base of the tree and where the roots begin. Remove any rocks or hard-packed earth you find on the edges of the hole you’ve dug.

Pro-Tip #1:As plant nurseries do not always do this properly, you may need to take your hand shovel to dig into your potted tree until you unearth it.

Pro Tip#2:Consider planting your tree 25% higher than you would usually so that when the roots settle, they don’t settle below the soil level. This will help prevent root rot.

Step 3: Remove the container and inspect the roots.

Remove the container by cutting away the plastic container or wire basket. Once you’ve removed it, ensure that anywhere the roots seem to be growing in the shape of the container or in a tightly wound ball are broken up and separated to prevent your tree from dying a slow death. If you have to cut into the roots to do this, it’s worth it. It will not hurt the tree!

Step 4: Place the tree in the hole

Once you place the tree in the hole, you’ll be able to see if it’s too deep. Remember, it’s okay to plant your tree a little higher than the soil level. Ensure that the tree is straight- we certainly don’t want it to grow at a wonky angle!

Step 5: Backfill the hole

Pack in soil to stabilize the roots of your tree gently but firmly to get rid of air bubbles. You can also water your tree during this process. Do not add any fertilizer. Add soil until the hole is filled. If you planted your tree a bit higher than soil level, you can build up your soil until reaching the trunk flare.

Optional: You can stake your tree if absolutely necessary, though we recommend waiting a week or two after initially planting it. Unstaked trees have stronger roots and trunks than those that were staked.

Step 6: Add Mulch

This one is pretty simple, but spreading mulch about two inches away from the trunk and around the circumference of your tree is beneficial. Not only will the mulch help your tree retain the moisture it needs to grow while also reducing the presence of weeds and grass (preventing water consumption competition), but it helps to regulate the temperature of the soil during hot or cold weather.

Step 7: Water your tree

It can take weeks to establish your tree after transplanting it, and every tree is a little different, so we recommend keeping an eye on how your tree responds to waterings. As a reminder, trees can lose about half of their leaves due to transplanting stress, but if they lose more under your watering regimen and the soil is still wet from yesterday’s watering, it could mean trouble.

If the leaves are drying up and your soil is also dry, you’ll need to water more.

We suggest watering your tree once a day for the first week after planting. The week after, scale back to watering every other day and on and on until you are only watering your tree once a week (unless it rains). During days that are especially hot or windy, check the soil. If it’s dry, give your tree a little extra hydration.

Now that you have the knowledge, go forth and get planning for tree planting season!