Once you have selected the right tree or shrub for your yard, identify the exact location for planting. Bear in mind that trees in particular ca damage the foundation of your home if they are planted too near it. Trees and shrubs set too close to your house can cause mildew and damage wood siding. Ask you local nursery or Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations on planting tolerances. Always read plant labels and plant so that even when mature, trees won’t touch the house. Plant shrubs so that they will just brush the house when mature.
Before you dig a deep planting hole for a tree or a shrub, contact your local utility service to find out if there are any underground utility lines at the site. You don’t want to dig up or disturb gas, water, telephone or power lines. When you dig the hole, be sure that the root ball rests at the same depth as in its previous planting. Don’t dig a hole that is too deep and then backfill it, the weight of the plant will sink the root ball below ground level. Dig a hole 2 to 4 feet wider than the root ball.
Add sphagnum moss to improve the excavated soil if it is sandy or clay-like, but don’t overdo it. In addition, resist the urge to fertilize. Very rich soil in the planting hole doesn’t help a plant. Recent research has shown that the roots tend to ignore the outlying soil, grow in circles in the richer soil and actually stunt the plant’s growth.