Street Tree Planting Standard

Tree Planting Detail
Tree Planting Detail

City of Medford Street Tree Planting Standard
Proper planting of street trees will maximize the chances of survival and promote long-term health. Check for underground utilities before planting by calling 800-332-2344.   
  1. Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Make the hole at least two times the diameter of the root ball but only as deep as the root ball. It is important to make the hole wide so that the new roots of the tree can grow outwards into the surrounding soil.  
  1. Install polypropylene root barrier parallel to the curb and sidewalk.  This will consist of three interlocking panels 24” wide by at least 18” in height.  The root barrier should be set back 12” from the curb.  Place a pea gravel channel 4” wide on the outside of the root barrier (towards the curb).
  1. If the trunk flare (where the roots spread at the base of the tree) is not partially visible, you may have to remove some soil from the top of the root ball. Carefully excavate the root ball down to the trunk flare. This point should be partially visible after the tree has been planted (see diagram). This will determine how deep the hole needs to be for proper planting.
  1. Remove tree container for containerized trees. Carefully cutting down the sides of the container may make this easier. Inspect the root ball for circling roots and cut or remove them.
  1. Place the tree at the proper height. Before placing the tree in the hole, check to see that the hole has been dug to the proper depth and no more. For balled and burlapped trees cut the wire, twine, and burlap completely away from the root ball and remove at this step.  Cut any circling roots on the outside of the root ball and from around the trunk.
  1. Straighten the tree in the hole. Before you begin backfilling, have someone view the tree from several directions to confirm that the tree is straight. Once you begin backfilling, it is difficult to reposition the tree.
  1. Fill the hole gently but firmly. Fill the hole about one-third full and pack the soil around the base of the root ball. Add soil a few inches at a time and settle with water. Continue this process until the hole is filled and the tree is firmly planted. It is not recommended to apply fertilizer at the time of planting.  In residential areas native soil or a mix of native soil and topsoil or mulch can be used for fill.
  1. Stake the tree if it appears unstable.  Protective staking may be required on sites where lawn mower damage, vandalism, or windy conditions are concerns, and with trees that have a broad canopy relative to the size of the root ball.  Remove support staking and ties after the first year of growth.
  1. Place mulch around the base of the tree. This will help retain moisture, moderate soil temperature extremes, and reduce competition from grass and weeds. A 2- to 4-inch layer is ideal. Be sure to keep an area 2-4” from the trunk flare free of mulch. This will prevent decay in the living bark at the base of the tree.
  1. Water tree immediately after planting with a minimum of 15 gallons of water.  Keep the soil moist but not saturated, watering at least once a week through the growing season.
  1. Enjoy watching your tree grow!
Downtown Business District:  All plantings of “Designated Street Trees” shall be planted in a modified planting pit of 3’ x 3’ x 6’ and backfilled with a soil mix of 1/3 clean native soil, 1/3 topsoil, and 1/3 composted mulch.   

Sidewalk Tree Wells:  In a 4’ wide walk the well cutout shall be 36” x 24”.  In a 7’ wide walk the well cutout shall be 36” x 36”. 
If you have further questions please contact Medford City Arborist Adam Airoldi at 541-774-2690. 

Additional Department Information

Parks, Recreation and Facilities Department Contacts

701 N. Columbus Avenue
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 774-2400
Fax: (541) 774-2560
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5p.m.

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