Balled and burlapped trees can be successfully planted from spring to fall. To successfully establish balled and burlapped trees in the home landscape, it's important to follow proper planting procedures.
Dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the diameter of the tree's rootball. The depth of the hole should be 2 to 3 inches less than the height of the rootball. Slope the sides of the hole so the top of the hole is several inches wider than the bottom.
Grasping the tree's rootball, carefully lower the tree into the hole. The top of the rootball should be 2 to 3 inches above the surrounding soil line. Make sure the trunk is straight. Then, begin backfilling with the original soil. Do not add compost, peat, or other organic materials to the soil. Gently firm the backfill soil in the hole with your hands.
When the planting hole is half-full, cut and remove the twine. Also, cut away and remove the burlap on the top one-third to one-half of the rootball. If the rootball is in a wire basket, remove the top one-third to one-half of the basket. Completely fill the remainder of the hole with soil. Place soil up to the top of the rootball and gradually slope it down to the surrounding soil line. Once planted, thoroughly water the tree.
Poorly drained sites are difficult locations for many trees. When selecting trees for these sites, choose trees that can tolerate poorly drained conditions. In poorly drained soils, the depth of the planting hole should be approximately two-thirds of the height of the rootball. When placed in the hole, the top one-third of the rootball should be above the surrounding soil. Fill the hole with soil. Place soil to the top of the rootball and gradually slope it down to the surrounding soil line.