Planting Guide

Follow this planting guide using our Standard Planting Package:

Call for a utility locate before or immediately after purchasing your trees from Happy Trees. Simply dial 811 and an operator will assist you with your request. Please leave your gates unlocked and keep the yard accessible for 3-5 days for the service technicians. They do not call to schedule and they usually don’t knock. Your trees cannot be planted within 18” of any marked utility.  

Stake the location where you desire your tree to be planted using the labeled marker stake provided by Happy Trees. Important- trees are not happy if moved after planting!

Dig a hole twice as wide as the width of your tree’s root ball or container (ex. root ball is 2’ wide, dig a 4’ wide hole).  
The tree should be planted with the top of the root ball 3-4” above the level of the ground (ex. root ball is 24” tall, dig a hole only 20” deep). The tree should be set on firm undisturbed soil.

Planting in lawn? Remove a ring of turf twice as wide as your tree’s root ball and discard or toss it in the compost pile.  
Planting in a mulch or rock garden bed? Remove and stockpile the mulch. Give yourself plenty of space around the hole so mulch or rock doesn’t fall into your planting hole. Shovel your excavated soil onto a tarp or wheelbarrow so it doesn’t mix with your mulch or rock.  Cut a large “X” through your weed barrier fabric (if it’s there) and tuck in the corners so you can dig your hole.
If your tree is in a container or plastic bucket remove it at this time. Gently slide the root mass out of the container or cut the bucket off the tree.  Balled and Burlapped trees should left intact until the tree is set in place. 

Gently roll your tree into the center of the planting hole. If you have enough help you can lift the tree by the root ball and gently set the tree into the hole. Take care not to yank or wrench the tree into position by the trunk. All positioning should be done by pulling on the ropes or wire basket around the root ball.

Using the ropes or wire basket around the root ball, rotate the tree into the desired position and set upright. Do not crank on the trunk or branches of the tree to stand it up! Use a little soil at the base of the root ball to prop up your tree and hold it upright.  
Amend your excavated soil with the compost provided by Happy Trees. Use about 1/3 the volume of compost to 2/3 excavated soil. Mix the compost into your soil as best as possible. Break up any clods of dirt with your shovel.

Your marker stake provided by Happy Trees can be used as a water gauge! Clean out the center of the tube and set it into the hole next to the root ball. You can wedge it between the wire basket and the root ball to secure it in place. Once your tree is planted you can slide a dipstick into the tube to measure the water in the bottom of the hole! 

Fill the hole around your tree about ½ way with your amended soil. Water thoroughly, using your garden hose to settle the soil around the root ball. Do not tamp or pack the soil around the roots.

Cut the top half of the wire basket off of the root ball and remove it. Cut and remove as much of the burlap as possible, taking care not to disrupt the ball of soil around the roots.  

Fill the remainder of the hole with your amended soil and water thoroughly. Do not pile soil on top of the root ball.  Any extra soil can be used to make a water ring around the tree.  

Use the stakes and strap provided by Happy Trees to secure your tree in place. The stakes are to support the tree and to prevent it from swaying in the wind only. The straps should be firm, but not overly tight. Stakes should be driven into firm undisturbed soil outside of your planting hole, not into the loose soil where you did your digging.

Lay down some weed fabric if desired (optional). Spread the mulch provided by Happy Trees over the soil around your tree. Mulch should be 3-4” thick, but not piled up around the trunk.

Fertilize at this time as directed with the liquid starter fertilizer.

Water your trees thoroughly 3 times per week or as necessary. Use your water gauge until you get a feel for how often your trees need water.

Call anytime with questions or advice. Enjoy your Happy Trees, and let your friends and neighbors know where you got them!