I bought a tree (firefall maple, 2" diameter)and had the tree farm plant...

Asked September 15, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

I bought a tree (firefall maple, 2" diameter)and had the tree farm plant it in my back yard on August 8th. I don't think they planted it correctly. The root flair is 2" below grade. They didn't remove the wire cage or burlap. I think I should dig it out and correct these problems. Do you agree? If so, should I wait until it has dropped its leaves, or do it now?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for your question.
Please refer to the following fact sheet on planting trees, especially Step 3 which is specifically about container grown or wrapped trees:


The following is from Step 3:
"Consensus from research is clear that leaving burlap, twine, and wire baskets on the sides of the root ball are not acceptable planting techniques.

  • Burlap may be slow to decompose and will complicate soil texture interface issues.
  • Burlap that comes to the surface wicks moisture from the root ball, leading to dry soils.
  • Jute twine left around the trunk will be slow to decompose, often girdling the tree.
  • Nylon twine never decomposes in the soil, often girdling trees several years after planting.
  • Wire baskets take 30 plus years to decompose and may interfere with long-term root growth.
  • With tapered wire baskets, some planters find it easier to cut off the bottom of the basket before setting the tree in the hole. The basket can still be used to help move the tree and is then easy to remove by simply cutting the rings on the side."

Please note that the techniques for planting container grown trees does vary with the type of container. Read the fact sheet in its entirety in order to understand how trees should be planted.
The most favorable seasons for transplanting trees are when transpiration demand is low and root generation potential is high, such as in fall, winter and early spring. With the much-reduced root system, water is a critical element in the successful transplanting of B&B material. If you are going to have it replanted, I would do it asap and continue regular watering and be sure to place a 3 inch mulch layer in a doughnut shape around the base of the tree. Be sure the mulch is kept away from the trunk.
Good luck and thank you for contacting Extension.