Planting Balled & Burlaped Shrubs

Keep the soilball and burlap of B&B shrubs moist. Set it in the hole and adjust its orientation and depth. When it is in position, open and cut away as much of the burlap wrapping as possible all around the sides of the rootball. If soil covers the stems so that the flare of the roots as they enter the soil is not visible, brush away the excess. Then check to make sure the soil level there is at, or slightly above, the grade of the surrounding ground.
While natural burlap eventually rots and allows lateral root growth, much of the burlap used today is synthetic and does not rot. Make it a general practice to remove any “burlap” wrappings. If that is too difficult, fill the hole with soil about half way so it supports the rootball in place and cut as much of the burlap away as possible so roots can grow outward freely.
Large shrubs may have a wire basket around their wrapped soilball. While you can leave some of the wire after you set the shrub in place, cut away at least the top two horizontal wires, including the top rim. Then snip vertical ones you can reach but can’t remove, to assure unobstructed lateral root growth and make it easier to cut away most of the burlap inside it.

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