How to Plant a Small Root Ball Oak Tree


Oak trees are large specimen trees found across the United States. Oak trees can either be deciduous or evergreen. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter while evergreen trees retain their foliage. When you purchase an oak trees at a nursery, it will typically have a root ball that is wrapped in burlap. To ensure the tree's survival, follow careful procedures when you plant an oak tree with a small root ball. Failure to do so can result in an oak tree that declines or dies.

Step 1

Dig a hole two to three times as wide and just as deep as the root ball of the oak tree.

Step 2

Remove the burlap from around the oak tree's root ball. Support the root ball at all times when removing the burlap.

Step 3

Lift the oak tree by the root ball and set it into the planting hole.

Step 4

Mix equal amounts of compost, peat moss and topsoil together and backfill the planting hole. Tamp down the soil with your shovel or foot to firm it up.

Step 5

Water the entire root ball area to settle the soil. Add additional soil if necessary. The soil level should be as high as the root ball.

Step 6

Spread mulch over the area at a depth of 3 to 4 inches. The mulch should extend from about an inch or two away from the trunk to the edge of the tree's canopy.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't lift the tree by its trunk. Doing so can damage the tree which may cause decline or death.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Topsoil
  • Garden hose
  • Wood mulch


  • How to Plant a Tree
  • Lovetoknow: Oak Tree Planting
Keywords: oak tree, small root ball, plant oak tree

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.