Landscape Landscape
Plant Material - Installation


A couple rules of thumb:
  • Don't bury the plant's "crown", essentially where the base of the stem meets the roots. The crown should be level with the top of the soil.
  • Mulch should cover the area around plants, but not directly against them (except for some vegetables).


When planting trees, carefully follow these steps in order to significantly reduce the stress placed on the tree at the time of planting.
  • Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Make the hole wide, as much as three times the diameter of the root ball but only as deep as the root ball.
  • Identify the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the roots spread at the base of the tree. This point should be approximately 1” above the finish grade after the tree has been planted.
  • Remove tree container for containerized trees. Carefully cutting down the sides of the container may make this easier.
  • Inspect the root ball for circling roots and cut or remove them.
  • Expose the trunk flare, if necessary.
  • Place the tree at the proper height. Before placing the tree in the hole, check to see that the hole has been dug to the proper depth and no deeper.
  • Always plant the tree 2 to 3 inches above the base of the trunk flare to allow for soil settling.
  • To avoid damage when setting the tree in the hole, always lift the tree by the root ball and never by the trunk.
  • Straighten the tree in the hole before backfilling.
  • Fill the hole gently but firmly taking care to avoid damage to the trunk or roots in the process.
  • Build a swale around the perimeter of the planting pit with the remaining soil and water the tree thoroughly by filling the swale with water, allowing it to percolate down in the soil then fill it once more.  Follow this procedure twice a week during the summer months and once week during the cooler seasons.
  • Caring for the Forest: Watering Street Trees
Santa Monica's Urban Forest is managed by the Community Maintenance Department.

Consult their website for all issues regarding trees in public areas, as well as community education that encourages public stewardship of public and private trees in Santa Monica.


A proper planting
Last updated: Thursday, 12/10/2015


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