Retaining foliage throughout the year, evergreen trees provide constant greenery to the garden, year-round shade protection and a place for wildlife to seek shelter. Planting evergreens in your landscape also means you’ll have greenery to enjoy even in the dead of winter. Follow these steps for how to plant evergreens.
1. Choose a planting time
Planting evergreen trees is best done during times of the year when the weather is mild, which allows plants to most easily set down new roots and begin growth. Spring or fall are the best times for planting evergreens. Choose a cool day when it isn’t raining or hasn’t recently rained.
2. Pick a planting site
For successful growth, it’s imperative that you plant your evergreen in the appropriate exposure. Most evergreens require full- to part-sun, but it’s best to check the light needs of the specific tree before planting.
Ensure that the planting area soil is rich, yet well-draining, as most evergreen trees will do poorly in overly wet conditions. Also consider what is located overhead when planting. Many evergreens will grow several inches per year, so it’s important that the tree doesn’t eventually run into objects such as power lines.
3. Prepare the soil
Make the planting area soil easy for the new roots to penetrate by digging up the area and tilling to remove any clods and rocks. The size of the area you dig up depends on the size of the evergreen’s root ball. Dig a hole that is six to 12 inches deeper than the root ball is high and twice as wide as the root ball’s width. If the soil is especially heavy clay or low in fertility, mix in 25 percent planter mix or compost.
Remove the evergreen tree from its pot and examine the roots. If there are a lot of closely matted, intertwined roots, use pruners to snip some of the roots. This will cause the roots to venture into the new soil once the tree is planted.
Place the evergreen in the planting hole so it sits like it did in the pot. Planting evergreens too low or too high in the ground can lead to failure. Backfill the planting hole with soil and planter/compost mix and firmly tamp (pat) down the surface.
Use the remaining loose soil to create a water well ring around the base of the tree. This will direct water to the plant roots when you water or it rains. Thoroughly soak the newly planted tree with water.
Water the evergreen on a regular basis for the first year as it becomes established. Apply a two- to four-inch layer of mulch, such as shredded bark, around the base of the tree to conserve moisture and keep the ground temperature even.