How to Plant a Tree

Ian holding a shovel and the 15 gallon Fuyu PersimmonHello. Welcome to Garden View, How-To. My name is Ian Alden from Garden View Nursery. Today, I’m going to teach you how to plant a tree. Specifically today, we’re going to plant up a 15-gallon Fuyu Persimmon, about right here. The purpose of this video is to teach you how and why to plant a tree correctly. I see a lot of people, over the years, invest a lot of money in plants and end up being unsuccessful with them. I think one main reason is due to planting it improperly, or just not having the knowledge or ability to do it correctly, so today, we’re going to teach you that.

Dig Hole the Right Size

Hole dug for 15 gallon fuyu persimmon treeFirst, we’re going to dig out hole.  Okay, so as you can see, our hole is dug. I’d say it’s about two and a half to three feet wide. It’s only as deep as the container. In fact, it’s probably slightly shallower. The main reason for that is, when we plant this in the ground, we want to have what they call the crown of the tree, where the tree meets the soil, right at level of the ground or even slightly raised. It’s always better to be slightly higher than lower. If you’re burying that up, there’s a chance of crown rot and hurting the tree, and killing your tree. To prevent that, we’re going to slightly raise that up. If it’s too high, we could always add a lot more compost on top in the end, to make that thing happen.

Soil Amendment

Soil Building Conditioner to be mixed into our fertilizerThe next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to amend our soil. All the soil we just dug out, we have right here next to our hole.

Soil Building Conditioner

The main thing we’re going to add into it is our soil-building conditioner. This is a product by G&B Organics we here at Garden View Nursery like a lot. It’s specifically made to break up our hard, tough clay soils. Fortunately, here at the nursery, we have very sandy soil. We really don’t need something that has this much drainage, but we find it works super-well in sandy soils, as well, as clay, but for the most part, we’re going to recommend to you guys out there, use something that really helps break up clay and adds a lot of organic matter.

You can also add just a lot of compost, planting mix, anything like that’s going to do the job, but we’re going to recommend that you add it into the hole liberally. We’re going to go ahead and add almost this whole bag in. We’re going to save a little bit left over at the end, just for the top. You can go ahead and do that. On this stuff, looks really good. You can see a bunch of white flakes on the top. That’s beneficial fungus growing right in there, possibly the mycorrhiza, hopefully.

Worm Gro

Worm GroAll right, so in addition to adding compost or our soil-building conditioner into the soil, we’re going to also add one of our favorite products, the Worm Gro, also by G&B Organics. Worm casting, in general, is just maybe the best thing you could add into your soil. It’s literally just worm poop, but it is jam-packed with beneficial bacteria, specifically, to really just jumpstart your soil. Most soils, especially in Southern California are just highly devoid of organic matter, therefore highly devoid of organic life. These bacteria are going to jumpstart our soil, get the life back into the soil. They’re going to start breaking down this compost and turning it into nutrients for our persimmon tree. We’re going to go ahead and add that, maybe about a quarter of the bag.

Starter Fertilizer

man holding G&B Organics "Starter Fertilizer" to be mixed inAll right. Next up, we’re going to add in this starter fertilizer we have here by G&B Organics. This is a way to add additional nutrients into the soil. What we’re doing here is we’re going above and beyond. We’re working in some extra nutrients right when you plant, getting it locked into the soil right when you’re planting. Some people say, “Do not fertilize right when you plant.” I disagree. I’ve never seen any poor results to doing this right when you plant. I suppose you could add too much. I find it’s very hard to do with numbers like 352 to do that, so what we’re going to do here is get those extra nutrients, we’re also giving it extra mycorrhiza and other beneficial fungus and bacteria to get that life in the soil just working. We’re going to add in about two handfuls, I’d say, for this stuff into our soil mix, right here. Go ahead and do that.

Kelp Meal

man holding Kelp Meal bag to be mixed into fertilizerAll right, and the last thing we’re going to add to our soil today is some kelp meal. This is another G&B Organic product we have. Any kelp meal in general would be fantastic. The reason we’re adding this is basically the icing on our cake. This is extra beneficial nutrients you’re not going to find in most fertilizers. These are the micronutrients in a broad spectrum of different mixing fertilizer This is just going to basically maximize the uptake of all those other nutrients and get that soil system working to the best of its potential. We’re going to add probably another two big handfuls into the soil. I really don’t think you can overdo it on kelp meal. I’ve never seen it done, personally. Maybe it’s possible. Let us know if you do.  Okay, and finally, we’re going to take everything we just threw into this big pile and we’re going to mix it all up, just like a happy big cake mix.

Tap and Gently Remove from Pot

Ian pulling a Fuyu Persimmon tree out of a 15 gallon containerOkay, so next, why don’t you watch as I take this tree out of the pot. I’m simply going to just put it on its side, tap the different sides of the container. It kind of loosens it up from the sides. Also, tap the bottom. This puppy should come right out, nice and easy. It’s a nice, solid root ball on that.

Additional Fertilizers (optional)

rubbing Starter fertilizer right onto the root ball before planting into the groundNext up, right before I put it in the hole, one of my favorite steps is I’m going to take another handful of this starter fertilizer and just rub it right on to the root ball. What I’m going to do there is it will put nutrients directly on the roots that it could uptake immediately, but even more important, there’s beneficial mycorrhiza fungus in this starter fertilizer. Now what the mycorrhiza does, it forms a symbiotic relationship with those roots. Those fungus are going to spread out like a web underground, able to pull nutrients from far away from the tree and bring it back to those roots and exchange nutrients with the tree, making your root system bigger than ever and maximizing its uptake in nutrients. We’ll go ahead and do that. Just take a small handful. A little goes a long way. We’ll just rub it right onto this root ball, under it, and around it. That should be good.


backfilling the hole with our ammended fertilizerNext up, we’re going to put this tree in the hole. We’re going to take all this fine soil we mixed up and backfill in and around that tree. Go ahead and do that next.


…it looks like we have our tree all done, but we’ve got a couple more steps. I have it all backfilled in with that happy soil, but the next thing we’re going to do is put a little burm around the tree. Usually, we would do it around the whole side of the tree, just a 360 little circle, a little lip around the tree to catch water and make sure that water is soaking directly into the root zone. Since we’re on a slight slope, we’re really just going to worry about the front side of this tree because the water’s not going to trickle up that hill.

creating or burm or lip to keep water from flowing past our treeOkay, as you can see, we have our little lip, or our burm around the front of the tree. It’s nice and wide. I’d say it’s about three feet wide in diameter, in the center of the hole, more or less. That way, you have plenty of water. It can soak in and around the root ball. Don’t make that burm too tight. You want to encourage roots to grow outward and you want to be watering wider than roots of the tree are now so that it has a reason to grow wider and grow larger.


Finally, we’re going to take our soil-building conditioner, the little bit that we have left, sprinkle that on the top of this soil to just add another little layer of nutrients. Then on top of that, we’re going to add another layer of mulch. Mulch is really anything you’re adding to the top of the soil. Specifically, usually refers to things like wood chips, bark, just a lot of leaves, something like that. Today, we’re going to use gorilla hair, which is just shredded redwood bark because we happen to have some laying around. All right, we’re going to go ahead and add those two components next.

Gorilla Hair mulch applied on top of burm and newly planted treeOkay, and that’s about it. That’s our tree right there. We’re planted. We dug our hole one and a half to two times the size of the container. We amended our soil with compost or soil conditioner, worm casting, starter organic fertilizer, kelp meal. Mixed that up. Put that back into the hole with the tree, making sure the tree was slightly above grade, the crown of that tree. Then we built our burm around the tree to capture the water. Then we put in additional soil conditioner on top, and then that final layer of mulch to help insulate the soil, keeping it warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, and helping moisture stay in that soil, and keeping the sun off all those beneficial nutrients we put into that soil.


Ian happy after planting the treeAll we’re going to have to do now is water this tree in. I don’t think we’re going to do that today just because we know we have a rain storm on the way. Lucky us, Southern Californians, we don’t get too many of these days. These are the days to be planting these trees, folks. These deciduous trees, this is the time to be doing it. We can plant throughout the winter. We find it’s probably the most ideal season to be planting, fall and winter. I just can’t stress enough how much it’s great to be doing this on these cool days rather than those hundred degree days in summer.

All right, thanks a lot, guys. Again, my name’s Ian Alden. You’re watching Garden View, How-To.