How To Plant Container Grown Trees and Shrubs

By: Julie Day


Gently slice any circling roots.

Step 5: Prepare Trees and Shrubs for Planting

  • Remove Container: Gently lay the plant on its side and remove the container. Be very careful not to break any stems or to yank too hard on any part of the plant. If it’s stuck, you may need to squeeze or pound the container a little to work it loose, or cut the container into pieces.
  • Loosen Roots: Use a sharp, sterile knife to gently cut any roots that are circling or matted. Circling roots have a tendency to keep growing in a circle instead of branching out.
  • Keep Root Ball Intact: Don’t loosen or break apart the root ball itself! The idea is to keep the root ball intact, with some careful slices to encourage branching.
  • Position Plant in Hole: Place each tree or shrub in the planting hole, then stand back and take a close look. Make sure the plant is straight, at the correct spacing and depth, and turned the direction you prefer it to face.

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4 Comments on “How To Plant Container Grown Trees and Shrubs”

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  • Janet Wilkinson Says:
    September 5th, 2015 at 3:41 am

    I have just been given an Azalea. I have clay soil & a with a south facing garden. As I understand they like acid soil was wondering whether to grow it in a tub. So was looking for some advice!



  • LYNN SHEPPARD Says:
    October 30th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Hi, looking for perfect unity planting tree for my daughter to plant at her wedding, possibly tree will live in a container for a couple of years and then be planted in the couples yard later. Tree is a symbol of longlasting love with proper nourishment for longetivity and will be memorable of beginning their life together. They will live in Atlanta Ga. for a while.
    Please help!



  • Julie Day Says:
    April 2nd, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Pat, in the demonstration photos, I am planting ‘Otto Luyken’ English laurels. They are gorgeous evergreen shrubs, one of my favorite choices for foundation plantings! In Step 1 there is an azalea (the lighter green shrub) to the left of the Otto Luykens. The photo in Step 9 features a blooming crape myrtle.



  • Pat Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    The pictures are beautiful. Names of the shrubs would be great.


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