Tree & Shrub Planting Guide

Do-It-Yourself Planting can be a lot of fun, but there are some things you need to know before you start.

The Guide

Where: Know your plant’s sun and water needs, and mature size when you choose a location. Remember to contact before you dig.

When: The best times to plant trees or shrubs in Colorado are Spring (March 15th-June 15th) or Fall (September 1st- October 15th). New plantings do best in moderate temperatures.

What You’ll Need:

  • Sharp Shovel
  • Tape Measure
  • Tarp — using a tarp for your soil pile makes mixing and cleaning up much easier
  • Compost — Recommended: Myke (mychorrhizal fungi), used directly on the root ball, or liquid Fertilome Root Stimulator added to the water
  • Garden hose
  • Mulch — Shredded cedar & ‘Gorilla Hair’ mulch are best for wind resistance
  • Stakes, wire, tree straps, mallet (or post pounder if you have one) — Staking is only necessary for trees 6 feet or taller
  • Tree wrap


  • Soak the area one day before for easier digging.
  • Support plants from the bottom when moving — don’t lift by the trunk.
  • Lay the plant on its side and wiggle or cut off the container. Loosen circling roots with your fingers.
  • Measure depth and width of the root ball.
  • Dig a saucer-shaped hole EXACTLY AS DEEP and 3X THE WIDTH of the root ball. Leave a small mound of soil at the center for stability.
  • If you’re using Myke, apply to the root ball now.
  • Set your plant down so that the top of the ball is 1-2″ above the original soil level.
  • Mix original back-fill soil with compost in a blend of 1/3 compost:2/3 soil and gently tamp the blend around the roots.
  • Water slowly and thoroughly with a hose—adding more back-fill if the soil settles.

Proper Care:

Mulching: Surround your new planting with a 2-4″ layer of mulch but make sure to leave a few inches clear around the trunk for airflow.

Staking: Trees more than 6 feet tall should be staked, but not for longer than one or two years. Use fabric straps to protect the bark and keep a slight sag in the wires for natural sway.

Watering: After the initial watering, new plants need water at least once a week. In the full heat of summer, you may need to water more often. Proper moisture is key — too much is just as bad as too little. Regular deep watering is better than frequent light watering. If you are not sure whether to water, there is a simple way to check:

Dig into the soil 8 inches out from the edge of the hole and 8 inches deep. Squeeze the soil in your hand — if the soil crumbles, it’s time to water. If it forms a ball, it’s okay for a while longer.

Don’t forget Winter water! We can have very dry winters in Colorado and plants still need moisture. Water once a month if we haven’t gotten enough rain or snow.

Feeding: Root stimulator is essential when planting and also we recommend a mild, balanced fertilizer, such as our Espoma all-purpose Plant-tone, during the first year.

Wrapping: Trees and shrubs can suffer from sunscald in our intense Winter sun. We recommend wrapping all newly planted trees in their first Winter. Use paper tree wrap around the trunk up to the lower branches. Apply the wrap in late Fall (early November) and remember to remove it in the Spring (mid-March).

Our Guarantee

Trees | Shrubs | Vines | Perennials | Roses | Grasses

We offer a ONE (1) YEAR GUARANTEE for these plants. Simply return the plant (a sample or photo works fine too) along with the receipt within ONE YEAR of the purchase date for a one time store credit in the amount of the ORIGINAL PURCHASE PRICE.

MYKE TREE & SHRUB: We also offer a 5-Year Extended Guarantee for our Woody plants that is valid only with receipt(s) showing purchase of both the plant material & MYKE at the time of planting.

Our guarantee DOES NOT COVER the cost of original planting OR delivery.

If you have concerns about the condition of your plant material, please call our Nursery at 970-484-5022. Or stop stop in at Bath Garden Center, on the corner of Timberline and Prospect and talk to one of our staff members. We’d be happy to answer any questions.

Please don’t dig up your plants before contacting us, THIS COULD VOID YOUR WARRANTY.

Our goal is to help you grow happy and healthy plants.

Annual Flowers | Herbs | Veggies | Houseplants

30-DAY GUARANTEE from date of purchase

Other Products

  • Unused merchandise may be returned with receipt within 30-days of purchase.
  • All clearance sales are final.
  • All returns require a receipt for a full refund.