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Tree Planting Specifications

These specifications are to be used when planting trees or large shrubs on City of Fort Worth property. No trees are to be planted in a public open space easement (P.O.S.E.) as described by Section 10, Landscaping in Roadway Medians and Parkways.

Following are the specifications for planting balled and burlapped trees and container-grown trees and shrubs.

Planting balled and burlapped trees

  • Should only be planted during the dormant season, after leaf fall in the autumn and before bud break in the spring.
  • Purchased trees should be locally grown stock. Trees from outside the state should be avoided.
  • Trees to be held on site longer than 24 hours before planting should be held in the shade or with enough mulch to cover the root ball. The root ball should be sufficiently watered to prevent drying.
  • Trees provided by the city should be planted within 24 hours of delivery or pick up.
  • The planting hole should be no deeper than the root ball, but 3-5 times wider.
  • The sides of the hole should be scarified to break glazing.
  • Do not place sand or gravel in the planting hole. It does not improve drainage and can have the opposite effect.
  • Check the root ball for soil added above the root flare by the nursery at time of digging. If present, remove added soil to the root flare.
  • Trees should be moved by handles on basket or by strapping placed around the root ball. Trees should not be lifted by the trunk or limbs.
  • In areas with poor drainage, the tree may be planted with the root flare 1” above grade. In all other instances the root flare should be placed at ground level. In no instance should the root flare be placed below grade.
  • Once tree is placed in planting hole, remove treated burlap completely. Untreated burlap should be folded or cut away from the top one-third of the root ball.
  • Any existing wire basket should be cut from the top one-third of the root ball.
  • Remove all rope, tags and tree wrap from trunk and limbs.
  • Use the same soil to fill the planting hole as was removed from it. Use no amendments.
  • Fill the planting hole by half, gently tap soil, and water to remove air pockets. Continue filling, tapping and watering until the soil is at grade.
  • Use remaining soil to build a watering berm just outside the original planting hole.
  • Place a 2-4” layer of mulch within the watering ring. Place no mulch within 2” of the trunk.
  • Staking and guying should only be used in areas of high wind or when trees will not stand on their own. When guying is not required, staking alone may be used to reduce lawnmower damage.
  • Trees should be guyed loosely enough to allow trunk to sway from the base.
  • All guying materials should be removed within one year, and tree guards should be placed around trunks at that time.
  • Large canopy or shade trees should be planted a minimum of 25’ apart, and small or ornamental trees should be planted a minimum of 15’ apart.
  • Shade trees and large ornamentals should have a minimum 5’ x 5’ surface area planting space and a permeable soil depth of not less than 3’. Small trees should have a minimum 4’x 4’ surface area planting space and a permeable soil depth of not less than 2’.

Container-grown trees and shrubs

  • May be planted during any season.
  • The planting hole should be no deeper than the root ball, but 3-5 times wider.
  • Do not place sand or gravel in the planting hole. It does not improve drainage and can have the opposite effect.
  • Trees should be lifted by the container or by supporting the bare root ball. Trees should not be lifted by the trunk or limbs.
  • Loosen the root ball from container and place in planting hole.
  • Slice the root ball vertically 2-3 times with a sharp knife to discourage circling roots.
  • In areas with poor drainage, the tree may be planted with the root flare 1” above grade. In all other instances the root flare should be placed at ground level. In no instance should the root flare be placed below grade.
  • Remove all rope, tags and tree wrap from trunk and limbs.
  • Use the same soil to fill the planting hole as was removed from it. Use no amendments.
  • Fill the planting hole by half, gently tap soil, and water to remove air pockets. Continue filling, tapping, and watering until the soil is at grade.
  • Use remaining soil to build a watering berm just outside the original planting hole.
  • Place a 2-4” layer of mulch within the watering ring. Place no mulch within 2” of the trunk.
  • If containerized trees are provided by the City, return all empty containers to the Forestry Section.
  • Staking and guying should only be used in areas of high wind or when trees will not stand on their own. When guying is not required, staking alone may be used to reduce lawnmower damage.
  • Trees should be guyed loosely enough to allow trunk to sway from the base.
  • All guying materials should be removed within one year.
  • Large canopy or shade trees should be planted a minimum of 25’ apart, and small or ornamental trees should be planted a minimum of 15’ apart.
  • Large shade trees require a 5’x 5’ minimum planting space; ornamentals require a 4’ x 4’ minimum.

Contact

Address:
4200 S. Freeway, Ste. 2200
Fort Worth, TX 76115

Phone:
817-392-5738

Email

City Forester:
Melinda Adams

Tree Planting & Maintenance

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Tree Selection/Identification

Tree Planting and Care

Tree Diseases & Insects

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