Planting a Pine Tree with a Burlap Root Ball

What You'll Need
Burlapped and balled pine tree
Topsoil, slightly fertilized (dont use too much!)
Water, for after planting

You can find a wide variety of ways to plant a pine tree, but one of the most popular for gardeners and landscapers is to use a burlap root ball. A burlap sack is used to cover the roots of an adolescent tree which was grown in a nursery or in a planting field. When it’s time to distribute and sell the little trees, they’re dug up and the roots are bound by the burlap sheet or sack. Twine is used to keep it tied down, and the trees are shipped to nurseries and retailers.

The burlap root ball is a popular way to grow many different plants but it’s especially effective with growing conifer trees. The key is in the digging of the hole meant to accommodate the root ball. The necessary supplies are a shovel and some fertilized topsoil—though it’s suggested you use peat or compost for fertilizer. This will depend on the breed of your tree.
Remember, when planting your balled-and-burlapped pine tree, always lift by the ball, never by the trunk.

Step 1 – Dig Hole

The first thing you have to do is dig a hole to accommodate the burlap root ball. You need the hole at least as deep as the ball is tall, but you need it 4 times the width of the ball.  Keep your backfill soil, or the soil you’ll put back into the hole, on the side and get it ready with a bit of topsoil mixed with compost or peat.

Step 2 – Add Ball

Now that you’ve got a substantial hole in your yard, you can put your burlap root ball into the center of the hole. Be gentle, because you don’t want to break any of the roots. Once the ball is in the hole, carefully cut away the top third of the burlap, and take off any spare twine that may still be on the pine tree.

Step 3 – Plant the Tree

Have a helper hold up the tree straight while you add back the soil and topsoil mixture. Don’t pack down the soil, because you want to make sure the roots can get water, and that the roots are encouraged to grow beyond the root ball.

Add mulch to cover up the hole if you mind the way the newly-planted pine tree looks in your yard. This can also help nutrients filter down to the roots, and keep your yard or garden looking clean and deliberate.

Your tree is ready to grow right where you planted it. The natural burlap will decompose and provide even more nitrogen for your tree, which will help it grow thousands of healthy pine needles.