What is the proper way to plant a bare-root tree?
Prior to planting, soak the tree’s roots in a bucket of water for 1 to 2 hours. Also, prune off damaged or broken roots.
When ready to plant, dig a hole that is 2 to 3 times wider than the spread of the tree’s root system. The depth of the hole should be equal to the distance from the tree’s trunk flare to the bottom of its roots. (The trunk flare is the point where the trunk begins to spread out as it meets the roots.) Build a cone-shaped mound of soil in the center of the hole. Place the tree on top of the mound. The trunk flare should be even with the surrounding soil surface. Spread the roots evenly over the mound. Then begin backfilling with the original soil. As you backfill, firm the soil in the hole with your hands. Place soil to the trunk flare. Finally, water the tree thoroughly.
Many shade and fruit trees are propagated by grafting. The graft union is located near the base of the tree’s trunk and is denoted by a bulge or crook in the trunk. The graft union is typically 1 to 3 inches above the trunk flare. When planting bare-root trees, be careful not to confuse the graft union with the trunk flare.