Poor drainage can and should be improved if possible by grading or installing drain tiles to carry water away (see diagram). On flat sites or sites with moderate drainage or compaction problems trees can be planted shallow, with one-third or more of the root ball above grade and the backfill soil mounded up to cover the root system. Trees can even be placed on top of the existing soil with their roots in a mound or berm. Such trees may do well but also may have a fairly small root system and will need more care and attention than trees on better sites.
Where adequate drainage is a problem, either elevate part of the root ball above grade and gradually slope the soil around it (see above) or provide a drain to a lower point (see below).
SEASON TO PLANT - Trees are best planted when they are still dormant with tight, unopened buds in the early to mid-spring after the soil has thawed. Moderate temperatures and good soil moisture in the spring help trees get established. Fall planting also works well for many species, though watering will be critical if the fall is dry. Summer planting of B&B and container plants can be done successfully, though hot temperatures, dry conditions, and non-dormant trees make good care especially important and survival less sure. Bare root trees should only be planted in spring while still dormant.
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