Trees & Shrubs – Site Preparation 


Before digging, always contact the state agency (J.U.L.I.E.) responsible for designating where utilities lines are located.  Not only is this the law, but it’s a safety measure that could prevent injury or death. 


  • The planting hole should be dug approximately twice as wide as the soil ball. 
  • Measure the height of the root ball and dig the hole one-two inches less than the height of the root ball.  Do not dig deeper or the plant will be too deep once the disturbed soil settles.  A tape measure or a simple length of twine or string can be used to measure the root ball before digging. 
  • When digging is complete, roughen up the sides of the hole.  This will help the plant to root in more easily. 

Planting the plant:

  • If the plant is in a container of any kind, remove it at the planting site and place the plant in the hole.  Do not plant too deep!  The top of the root ball should be one-two inches above ground level. 
  • Once it is in the hole, hold it erect and make sure it is centered and straight from all sides.  Bare root plants should be placed with the largest branches facing the prevailing winds and with the roots straightened and spread evenly within the hole. 
  • Once your plant is properly placed, you can begin to backfill using the original soil dug from the hole.  While poor soils may benefit from the addition of organic soil amendments such as peat moss or other composted products, you should never completely backfill with an amendment.  
  • If a soil amendment is caller for, it should be mixed thoroughly with the original soil prior to backfilling the planting hole. In most cases, plants will grow best if the original soil is altered as little as possible.  If roots suddenly encounter a completely different type of soil, they will have difficulty growing through this “wall” and into the surrounding soil. This has much the same effect as if you had not removed the container and will prevent proper root growth and drainage.  Instead, create a transition zone so that the change from the amended soil to the original soil is minor 
  • A qualified nursery professional can advise you on whether or not amendments are appropriate for your conditions.  Remember that too much amendment or an inappropriate amendment will only make soil problems worse. 
  • Plants may benefit from being fertilized at the time of planting.  A slow-release, complete fertilizer that is high in phosphorus (the middle number) will aid in the development of a strong and healthy root system. Once again, the fertilizer should be mixed thoroughly with your original soil prior to backfilling.  Never put fertilizer directly on the the roots of your plant and always use t in accordance with label directions. 
  • As you fill the hole, backfill evenly around the plant to keep air pockets to a minimum.  If planting bare root, the plant can be lifted up and down slightly as you fill to help soil settle in around the roots. 
  • Once your planting hole is approximately 3/4 full of backfill, water the plant in thoroughly to further eliminate air pockets in the backfill.  Then complete filling the hole and water in thoroughly once again. 

Special Tips:  

  • After removing the root ball from its container, make 3-4 shallow cuts down through the roots and the soil ball if the roots are growing in a circle
  • Taper mulch away from the stem.  Do not pile mulch against the stem. 







Since 1998, Aztech Landscaping has been a trusted partner of homeowners and businesses in Northern Illinois. We provide cost-effective residential and commercial landscaping solutions.  With our complete services, our landscaping professionals will ensure that your hardscape and landscaping stays looking its best.


We are licensed and bonded and maintain general liability and workman's compensation insurance.  We are also listed at Lake Holiday under contractor services.  


We provide the perfect combination creativity and professionalism to master the outdoor setup that customers envision. We happily work side by side with clients to learn exactly what they are looking for. While also adding our professional expertise we are able to make a successful project each and every time.


Aztech Landscaping's main office is in Sandwich, IL  with a typical service area of 30 miles from the office. Click here to see areas included but are not limited to. 

Did You Know ?

  • Professional landscaping can add up to 15% to the value of your home
  • A well placed shade or evergreen tree will provide shade in summer and protection from cold winter winds, thus effectively cutting your energy costs. 
  • Winter is a season too!  Use evergreens to provide color and substance, then add deciduous plants with interesting bark or colorful berries to liven up the landscape through the snowy months. The berries will also attract birds into your yard. 

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