Seeking Planting Advice

Maynard, MA

I'm new at planting trees and shrubs and I have several questions. I'd love to hear your advice/experience/knowledge. (BTW, I've bought the trees from nurseries and they are in pots. I haven't got the shrubs yet; they will be wrapped in something.)

1) 2 knowledgeable people have told me not to use much compost when planting. They said that the plants would get too much nutrition from the compost so the roots would not be motivated to spread out and find more nutrition. A third knowledgeable person said I should add compost, peat, and some other amendments--he recommended "Moo Doo." What do you-all suggest?
(I think I should have had my soil tested before planting the trees, but I didn't. I might be able to get test results in time to use them to plant the shrubs, but I'm not sure.)

2) One person suggested adding myccorrhizal support. The other said it wasn't necessary. Any experience/knowledge to share on this?

With thanks,

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

Just as there are many experts, there are as many methods and recommendations. Try and remember the "KISS" method.

Here's a simplified description from the International Society of Arboriculture with an image.

I use the "moat" method to ensure that when you water the tree, the water goes into the root zone as shown in the image. I also like to incorporate some slow release fertilizer to get those roots going. Thoroughly mixing the mulch into the soil is very important as much for nutrients as it is for moisture movement in the soil. Tree selection and placement are as crucial as the soil or fertilizer.

Norridgewock, ME(Zone 5a)

I believe myccorrhizal fungus application is only suggested for evergreens. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong on this....

Maynard, MA

Growin'--I remembered the KISS method and decided myccorrhizae were just the right thing for me--along with the moat method which I've always used with shrubs and veggies.

granitegneiis--given that I just put the myccorrhizal down, I sure hope someone does tell us you are wrong about just using them for evergreens!

Thanks to you both.


Maynard, MA

Oops! I have another question!

Today, when we planted our beautiful yellow birches, we came upon a problem with one of them. Like the others, it was to be planted in an area where we're creating a woodland garden effect. Unlike the others, it was near a large white pine where we couldn't find a spot free of very large pine roots.

Since there was no where else on the property that I could/would plant the tree, and since I really wanted another canopy tree near the pine for a specific reason, we just planted the 1-gallon container-size tree in between 2 big roots. (Drats! I should've taken a pic to show.) My question is: what are the chances of the new tree growing well amidst all those big roots? If it winds up growing well to start (after all, right now, it's thread-thin roots can probably find enough soil) then in 10 year will its roots grow so big and strong that they start fighting with the pine's roots and someone loses the battle, presumably the younger upstart?


Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

I think you'll be ok with Birch. They are tough trees that find their own ways.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

There are different types of mycorrhizae and the different kinds work best for certain types of plants. But even if you got the wrong kind they won't hurt anything so the worst case scenario would be that you wasted your time/money buying & applying them.

Maynard, MA

Fortunately, the product I used is a mix of endo- and ecto-mycorrhizae. I had no idea why this was important when I bought it, but now that you've called my attention to it, I've been reading about it and am really glad I got the stuff. Thanks, ecrane!

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