Guide to Successfully Planting and Plant Guarantee

Before you plant:

It is important to select the proper plant for your site. Consider the amount of space available for the plant (both now and when full- grown), the amount of sunlight it will receive, the type of soil at the site and type of soil the plant requires. If you’re unsure about choosing the right plant for your site, ask our teammates for advice.

We recommend you watch our video:

How to Plant a High Desert Tree

Plants should be taken straight home after purchase and not left to languish in a hot or below freezing vehicle. If possible, plant your tree or shrub as soon as you get it home. Otherwise, it may dry out and become injured. If you can’t plant it immediately, place it in a shady and/or sheltered location. Keep the soil moist until planted. Remember plants are living things and require care.

Planting can be done any time the soil is not frozen if the soil is moist and kept sufficiently watered. Be sure every plant is watered well before planting.

Planting Hole:

Dig a hole at least two times as wide as the root ball and deep enough so that the top of the root ball is even with the existing ground level. Balled and burlap (B&B) trees need to have their root ball sit 2-3” higher than the existing grade. Loosen the sides of the planting hole with a spading fork or similar tool.


Remove plant from container. Carefully loosen any pot bound roots and cut any circling roots before placing the root ball in the hole. If roots are extremely compacted, make a few shallow cuts through the roots on the sides and bottom of the root ball.
For B&B trees, place tree with string, burlap &/or wire basket intact into the hole at the proper planting height (2-3” above surface of soil) and position it in the desired direction, backfill the hole halfway and carefully settle the soil (see below). Then cut and remove the string, wire and burlap from around the trunk and the top third of the root ball. Continue filling hole per instructions below.

Enriching Your Soil and Backfilling:

Our native soils have virtually no nutrients and will benefit greatly by adding organic amendments. We recommend G&B Organics Soil Building Conditioner (SBC) for everything you plant – typically one bag per tree or half bag per shrub; any that is left over should be used as mulch (refer to MULCHING). Mix this at a 30 SBC / 70 soil ratio with existing soil and add in slow release G&B Organics Starter Fertilizer or Paradise Fertilizer, according to the directions, and backfill the planting hole. When the hole is about half refilled, straighten and level the plant and carefully settle the soil with your foot or shovel. Water with SUPERthrive (encourages new roots and reduces transplant shock), then fill the rest of the hole with the amended soil. Use excess soil to build a berm 6 to 10 inches from the outside of the hole. Water will have the ability to collect in this saucer and move slowly down into the plant’s root zone. Water again thoroughly with SUPERthrive, making certain to settle the soil and remove any air pockets.


It is critical that a drip system be added with emitters placed directly over the root ball, not the amended soil: typically, four 2 gal. emitters per tree (8 gal. per hour); two-three 1 gal. emitters per shrub (2-3 gal. per hour) – however, type of plant, soil & planting location may require more or less – we recommend consulting a plant doctor for recommendations. Water should drip directly into the root ball. Move emitters outward for advancing roots after the first year. Expect transplant shock in the form of wilting, leaf drop, and minor dieback of branch tips, especially during hot months. A simple way to check the water content of the root ball is to spear the ball with a screwdriver. If it penetrates the root ball easily, water is not needed at this time. If you have difficulty inserting the screwdriver, water is necessary.

Water 1-4 times a week, depending on the weather. July/August 3-4 times a week; October or April once a week; November – March once every three weeks when temperatures are above 50 and no snow is on the groundwater deeply with hose or bucket. Never allow the root ball to dry out, before, during, or after planting. Soil that is too dry or stays overly wet will result in root damage and death, and ultimately, the death of the plant. Roots for both B&B and container plants dry out faster than the soil around them, so it is important to monitor their soil moisture regularly for the first two growing seasons.


A tree should only be staked when necessary – when roots are not solid in the planting hole or where it could be dislodged by high winds. In most instances, the weight of the root ball is sufficient to hold the tree in place. Trees with trunks up to two inches in diameter can be supported with a single 2” x 2”x 8’ stake driven firmly into the ground at the outer edge of the root ball facing the direction of the prevailing wind and attached to the tree with straps designed for this purpose. Trees with larger trunks may require 2 or 3 stakes or guy wires anchored into the soil.

Remove stakes and wires after one growing season.


Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of G&B Organics Soil Building Conditioner to the plant to prevent water loss & weeds. Keep mulch 3-4 inches from the trunk.


Do not fertilize trees or shrubs during the first year with the exception of slow-release G&B Starter Fertilizer or Paradise Fertilizer used at time of planting.