Tree Planting Guide

A person's hands planting something in soil with a shovel

Preparing for Planting

1 - Water your Bower & Branch tree thoroughly while it is still in the container. Then remove it from the container by gently laying the tree on its side, being careful not to damage or break branches. Take hold of the bottom of the tree trunk and pull the root mass out of the container. Please remember that Bower & Branch containers are recyclable!
2 - Before placing the tree in the hole, we recommend that you prune the roots. Simply take a knife or pruners and cut into the root mass about 1 inch, cutting from top to bottom every 12" around the root mass. Roots respond to pruning in much the same way as a tree does above ground, and this can help prevent circling and girdling roots from developing.

Digging & Preparing the Planting Hole

3 - Bower & Branch prefers the hole to be prepared only slightly larger than the root mass size. Prepare the hole to be 4” to 6” wider than the root mass all the way around.

It is very important not to plant your tree too deep; we prefer that the root mass be exposed 2” above ground level or the surrounding soil. This is important to be sure the root flare (where the trunk ends and the roots begin) is not planted too deep. With this in mind, we also recommend that the bottom of the hole be firm and undisturbed to avoid settling after planting.

Remove any large rocks or stones or other debris from the hole. You will use the soil to place back into the planting hole.

Note: In cases of extremely poor soil conditions you may decide to add additional organic matter to assist with water holding capacity, create soil air space and/or improve drainage, and improve the soil environment. Your Bower & Branch Certified Professional will suggest the proper soil additives.

A draw of steps 1 and 2 showing you to prune every 12 inches around the root mass
A drawing of step 3, putting the tree in the hole with the top of the root ball 2 inches about the existing soil in a whole that is 4-6 inches wider than the root ball

Exclusive Elements® Starter Plant Food

4 - Bower & Branch recommends the addition of our exclusive Elements® Starter Plant Food that will empower the tree through the addition of beneficial microorganisms who bring your soil environment to life.

Our Starter Plant Food should be applied at the time of planting, either added to the planting hole before the placement of the tree or added to the soil when backfilling the hole. It is important to water this product in thoroughly at the time of planting to ensure these microorganisms come into contact with the roots. Follow the recommendations on the product label. This step is required to support your Three-Year Guarantee.

Planting Your Tree

5 - Gently roll or slide your tree into the planting hole and make sure the tree is standing exactly vertical. Backfill with the soil you removed from the planting hole, packing in around all sides of the root mass. Remember to leave the root mass exposed 2” above the existing soil line.
6 - After your tree is planted, water thoroughly again to remove excess pockets void of soil and to ensure the soil is fully saturated. There is no need to worry about over-watering at the time of planting.

Clean Up/Creating a Care Bed

7 - Remove the sod from around the tree to create a circle-shaped care bed. This will relieve competition from weeds and grasses over water and nutrients until the tree is established and allows a clean area for adding our beneficial compost top dressing and decorative mulch, Elements Composition Planting Mix. This care bed also provides protection from lawn mowing or weed trimming damage.
The Elements Starter Plant Food package on a table outside next to a terracotta planter
Steps 5, 6 and 7 showing the tree planted in the ground with the care bed around the base of it

Compost Top Dress & Decorative Mulch

8 - Once the water has drained and your care bed is created, you can add the finishing touch of our Composition Planting Mix. Be sure to keep this no more than 2” deep around the base of the tree. Remember, the root flare should not be covered very deeply, but it is okay to top dress the root mass with a thin coating of compost and decorative mulch. This will also help with water retention and reduce weed growth, and will enhance your soil environment.

Staking Kit

Certain varieties of trees will require staking within the first year or two of planting. Bower & Branch does not recommend staking upon initial planting unless it is absolutely necessary. Your Bower & Branch Professional will provide you with the proper recommendation for your tree. The Elements® Staking Kit is available online.

Watering System

Lack of water is the number one cause of tree death in the first year of planting. Bower & Branch recommends our exclusive slow-release Elements® Watering System for the first full year from planting (spring, summer, fall). This is required to support your Three-Year Guarantee.

Note: Summer Planting is very successful using our exclusive Watering System.

Lasting Quality

Your tree is guaranteed for three years when you follow the instructions in this guide. Make sure to save your tag and visit to register your tree for the Three-Year Guarantee.


Bower & Branch Elements

The Bower & Branch Elements collection is an essential support system that helps your tree grow. These items are necessary for your tree to establish its root system and to grow stronger. The Plant Food, Watering System and Composition Planting Mix are required for trees to receive the 3-year guarantee.


Trees and soil depend on important relationships with beneficial microorganisms for fertility, nutrition, growth and protection. Bower & Branch Elements Food contains organic material alive with beneficial microorganisms, scientifically proven to benefit all plants and soils.


Trees and soil depend on important relationships with beneficial microorganisms for fertility, nutrition, growth and protection. Bower & Branch Elements Fertilizer contains organic material alive with beneficial microorganisms, scientifically proven to benefit all plants and soils.


By using the Elements™ Planting Mix Compost Blend, along with the Elements Fertilizer and Watering System, you will give your plants exactly what they need to thrive.

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