Proper planting of a River Birch

Asked August 18, 2018, 8:18 PM EDT

I recently planted a River Birch in upstate NY, a passerby commented that the tree was planted too low. I have the top of root ball level with the surrounding grade. Should it be raised to have a small portion of the root ball above grade? Thank you for your advice.

Rensselaer County New York

1 Response

Thank you for your question. It sounds like you planted the tree properly. The stipulation would be that if you have soil that poorly-drained or compacted, planting the tree a bit higher can be helpful in having it establish properly. (See: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/planting-trees-correctly/) It's possible that the passer-by planted a similar tree in different soil, and that is where their comment originated from. Keep in mind that you don't want to cover the top of the root ball with soil. Although the guide above suggests that mulch can be used, be sparing with its application and try not to cover the roots--some experts suggest that mulch should not even touch the bark. Here's some information about mulching: http://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-and-plant-advice/horticulture-care/mulching-trees-and-shr...

Hope this is helpful.